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Hawaii News

Hokule'a voyage makes impact on Hawaii students

Here’s a quick Hokule ‘a update — but not about how the canoe is faring in frigid New Zealand ports more than 4,000 miles from Hawaii.

Instead, it’s an example of how the “Malama Honua” voyage is making what its organizers hope will be long-lasting impacts on the students back here at home — and how those students see the world around them.

James Campbell High School teacher Ethan Onipaa Porter shared with me earlier this week a final project that his Freshman English students created down in Ewa Beach, inspired by Hokule’a’s worldwide voyage.

Campbell was the school I “adopted” during the voyage leg in which crews gradually sailed Hokule’a and Hikianalia down the New Zealand coast to Auckland from mid-November through mid-December. While we were docked in Whangerei, I had a chance to have a live discussion with one of the classes from aboard Hikianalia about how the voyage was going.

The video by Porter’s Freshman class is a series of vignettes — basically a public service announcement — that the Campbell students shot with their iPhones and edited using iMovie software. The video short shows the kids taking initiatives to organize beach cleanups and school beautification projects, as well as to discourage pollution and littering.

“We came up with the ideas after given the topic of Malama Honua. After that we came up with side stories,” student Darius Brooks said in an email.

The video’s theme is “It Takes More Than One.” The class took that theme, broke up into groups, and came up with the mini stories in the video.

The whole process took about a week, they said, including a day to discuss the assignment, a day of story-boarding, then two days of filming and two days of editing and completing voice-overs.

If you ask the Polynesian Voyaging Society leaders who are guiding the Malama Honua voyage, they’ll tell you that school projects like this taking place around the islands are just as critical to their mission as is Hokule’a’s actual sail around the globe. What good is the voyage, they say, if no one’s watching back home and it doesn’t help teach the younger generation coming up to see the world in a fundamentally different way?

I’d say this Malama Honua project is an encouraging sign, so mahalo nui for sharing, Campbell freshmen! And be sure to keep filming.

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