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Hokule‘a gets warm reception in Waianae

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The Hokule‘a arrived at Pokai Bay in Waianae Saturday morning.

The Hokule‘a arrived in Waianae on Saturday and will be available for public tours, school visits and educational outreach for the next two weeks as part of its Mahalo Hawai‘i Sail.

More than 1,000 West Oahu residents greeted the Hokule‘a and Hikianalia at Pokai Bay Saturday, with cultural ceremonies and recognition of Buffalo Keaulana, fondly known as “Uncle Buffalo,” as a world-class waterman and original 1976 crew member.

Gov. David Ige, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson participated in a special ceremony honoring Keaulana, noting his lifelong contributions to the people of the Waianae coast, along with Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, Rep. Cedric Asuega Gates and Rep. Andria Tupola.

The University of Hawaii has also created the Buffalo Keaulana Endowed Scholarship Fund to support students from the Waianae coast pursuing studies at any of its campuses.

“This scholarship will not only honor our friend and hero, Buffalo Keaulana, it will hopefully inspire our young people to pursue education and become leaders within their own communities here on the Waianae Coast,” said University of Hawaii president David Lassner in a written statement.

The West Oahu community is invited to learn about the recent Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage and its mission of promoting cultural and environmental stewardship. Community canoe tours and school visits are available (by appointment only) from today through Friday and Dec. 18 to 21.

The Hokule‘a is scheduled to depart Pokai Bay Dec. 21 to return to the Marine Education Training Center at Sand Island in preparation for her next stop on the Mahalo Hawai‘i Sail.

Visit hokulea.com/events for a full schedule of events.

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