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Hokule‘a crew meets with Rapa Nui leaders


    Crew members of the voyaging canoe Hokule‘a are greeted and welcomed by people on the island of Rapa Nui after making landfall on the South Pacific island.

The voyaging canoe Hokule‘a and its crew marked the return of the vessel to Polynesian waters Saturday with a traditional landing ceremony at Anakena Beach in Rapa Nui.

It was the second time the canoe has visited Rapa Nui since 1999.

The crew was greeted at the historic beach with song and dance.

“Returning to Rapa Nui and reconnecting with our ohana and other community members is an important milestone for Hokule‘a and the Worldwide Voyage, marking our return to the Polynesian triangle and the deep history of Polynesian voyaging,” said master navigator Nainoa Thompson, captain of the Hokule‘a and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, in a news release issued Sunday. “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our shared commitment to preserving traditions, values, and environment, but also to discuss the challenges that we face in light of changes to our oceans, education, and well-being as island people.”

The crew has been joined on its visit to Rapa Nui by the Nahiku Student Delegation, a Hawaii student group that promotes Polynesian culture and wayfinding.

According to the release, the groups have taken tours and met with Rapa Nui’s governor, mayor and other community leaders.

Four apprentice navigators directed the canoe on the 20-day journey of more than 2,000 miles from the Galapagos Islands to Rapa Nui.

The crew is scheduled to leave Rapa Nui over the coming week for French Polynesia and an eventual return to Oahu in June.

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