A Message from Hōkūleʻa’s Crew to Maui

Crew Update – August 9, 2023 | Leg 6, Day 2

Our hearts and minds were split today as no amount of activity and kuleana could shake the somberness of this day. Between meetings and managing our kuleana, crew members caught glimpses of the devastating fires that were ravaging Lāhaina this morning. We reached out to family, we offered pule and condolences, and we shed tears when the news of the scope and the spread of this fire was made clear to us. Our hearts ached for the ʻāina that has been transformed, and the kanaka whose beloved possession and family have been taken by these fires.

We know that these storm winds and the extreme droughts in many areas of our islands that enabled and fueled this devastating fire are a part of extreme weather changes brought on by global warming and are indicative of the climate catastrophe we now live under. That is indisputable. In this way, we know this kind of loss is preventable and is also a warning cry for what is to come if we cannot collectively address the needs of this planet and her people. And the weight of that will be carried first by those who have already been suffering under multiple generations of dispossession but eventually it will come for us all. We know this all too well throughout oceania.

So what is to be done now? that is the question of our generation and thats one of the biggest questions we carry on this very voyage. What is to be done individually, and more importantly, collectively that can shift the course of this planet and our lives? No one of us has all the answers, but perhaps we give ourselves a fighting chance when we work together and approach these issues first with indigenous knowledge and wisdom that have stood the tests of time. Is this not what we try to do every day on the canoe? Mai poina: he wa’a he moku, he moku he wa’a.

For now, we will reach out to those we love and are connected to, we will offer our support and aloha, and we will remain grateful for what remains: our aloha for our ʻĀina and each other, and the perseverance to care for our affected ‘Ohana while we carry the ‘ike of our kupuna forward for generations to come.