Iconic Hawaiian Canoe Hokule’a Comes to Salem

SALEM – Join the City of Salem to say “Aloha!” to the Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe Hōkūle’a at Salem Maritime National Historic Site from Thurs. July 14 to Sat. July 16. The 62-foot double-hulled canoe  is in the midst of a multi-year circumnavigation of the globe to raise awareness of Polynesian maritime culture and ocean conservation.


The day breaks over Hōkūleʻa with Kualoa behind her.

The day breaks over Hōkūleʻa with Kualoa behind her.

Hōkūleʻa will be docked at Central Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. She is expected to arrive mid-day on July 14 and depart before 7:00 AM on July 16. The crew will open Hokule’a for public tours on Thursday from 1:00 – 5:00 PM.


“Salem is pleased to host the Hōkūle‘a during her global voyage,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll, “The visit of the Polynesian Voyaging Society is a perfect way to celebrate Salem’s revitalized waterfront and the Centennial of the National Park Service. We look forward to exchanging stories, culture, and history with the crew during Hōkūle‘a’s visit.”


IMG_6114A Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hōkūle‘a has been built in the tradition of ancient Hawaiian wa‘a kaulua (double- hulled voyaging canoe). Launched March 8, 1975, Hōkūle‘a (“Star of Gladness”) helped spark a revival of Hawaiian culture and wayfinding and is the iconic symbol of the Worldwide Voyage.


In March, Hōkūleʻa touched the connental US for the first me in the Everglades of Florida. She is currently sailing up the East Coast, connecting with schools, Native American peoples, maritime communities and more. After New England stops in Block Island, RI, Mystic Seaport, CT, Martha’s Vineyard, Woods Hole, and New Bedford, Hōkūleʻa will come to Salem en route from Boston to Portsmouth, NH.


“We are honored and excited to visit Salem, learn more about your special coastal community, and possibly share ideas for caring for each of our coastal homes, our oceans and our shared Island Earth with your community members,” writes Heidi Kai Guth, Chief Operating Officer of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.


DCIM100GOPROG0033340.“The National Park Service rangers and volunteers look forward to welcoming Hōkūleʻa to the North Shore and support its message of conservation of our precious resources-both in the ocean and on land,” says Salem Maritime NHS Superintendent Paul DePrey, “The living tradition of Polynesian navigation as demonstrated by Hōkūleʻa ‘s voyage is a reminder of the vibrant technologies found in the world’s maritime-based cultures. Preservation of this knowledge and skill is an important way to maintain strong connections to those who came before us.”


Members of Hōkūleʻa’s crew have been invited for a private viewing of the Peabody Essex Museum’s (PEM) Oceanic Art collection with Karen Kramer, Curator of Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture. Since the museum’s inception in 1799, PEM has collected art and cultural objects from the Pacific Islands and its collection of more than 22,000 works — 3,000 of which are Native Hawaiian — is considered among the most important in the world.




Special tours focused on the Oceanic collection at Historic New England’s Phillips House Museum are also being arranged for the crew and general public. The Phillips House flies the Hawaiian flag to symbolize the family’s connection to Hawaii and passion for Oceanic culture, which goes back to 1866 when Stephen Henry Phillips was the Attorney General for the Kingdom of Hawaii under King Kamehameha V. The family’s Oceanic collections include hundreds of artifacts, rare books, archives, and images dating from the late 1700s through the mid-20th century.


At the House of the Seven Gables visitors and crew can learn about Retire Beckett through a small exhibit, which will be on view. The Retire Beckett House, now the Museum Store, was home of shipbuilder Retire Beckett (1753-1851). Beckett has to his credit the yacht Cleopatra’s Barge, which was built in 1817 and visited 16 ports in Europe and North Africa until it was stripped and sold to King Kamehameha II in 1820. A replica of the yacht’s cabins is on display at the Peabody Essex Museum. On Friday and Saturday the Gables will feature interactive family programming inspired by the canoe’s visit to Salem. On Thursday, visitors are also welcome to join staff on the Seaside Lawn to welcome the Hōkūleʻa into port at approximately 2:30-3:30 p.m.


The Hawthorne Hotel is providing accommodations for the crew during their visit, and members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society are expected to visit the Salem Marine Society clubhouse, a replica ship’s cabin, on the roof of the hotel.


For more information on the Hōkūleʻa , visit, the Salem Maritime National Historic website,  and by visiting the Destination Salem website. Join the conversation on social media with @destsalem and tag #SalemMA and #HokuleainSalem.


RSVP to the Hokule’a visit to Salem Maritime National Historic Site on the Facebook event page.  For Hokulea’s most up-to-date US east coast schedule,  click here. To follow the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, track the voyage here.  


About the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage


The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage will cover over 60,000 nautical miles, 100 ports, and 27 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites. Voyaging from Hawaiʻi in 2013 with an estimated sail conclusion date of June 2017, the Worldwide Voyage is taking the iconic sailing vessel, Hōkūleʻa, around Island Earth and her sister canoe, Hikianalia, around the Hawaiian Islands to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The voyage seeks to engage all of Island Earth – practicing how to live sustainably while sharing Polynesian culture, learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the precious place we call home.


Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hōkūle‘a has sailed more than 26,000 nautical miles and made stops in 14 countries and 70 ports, weaving a “Lei of Hope” around the world. Along the way, more than 200 volunteer crewmembers have helped to sail Hōkūle‘a to spread the message of Mālama Honua (or taking care of Island Earth) by promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness, as well as exchanging ideas with the countries she has visited. So far, crewmembers have connected with more than 45,000 people in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea and Indian Ocean including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa, Brazil, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Cuba. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage reached the East Coast of the United States in March 2016, stopping in Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia before continuing north to Washington D.C., New York City (where it celebrated World Oceans Day at at the United Nations on June 8) and New England.


About Hokule’a


A symbol of cultural revival, the history of Hōkūleʻa is also being shared on this journey to inspire other indigenous cultures. This replica of an ancient Polynesian voyaging canoe was built 40 years ago and revitalized voyaging and navigation traditions throughout the Pacific. The canoe’s twin hulls allow her to handle large ocean swells and recover easily in the troughs of waves, and her triangular canvas sails can harness winds up to 20 knots. Hōkūleʻa first set out on the Pacific Ocean in 1975. Through the revival of the traditional art and science of wayfinding–navigating the sea guided by nature using the ocean swells, stars, and wind–Hōkūleʻa sparked a Hawaiian cultural renaissance and has reawakened the world’s sense of pride and strength as voyagers charting a course for our Island Earth.


About the Polynesian Voyaging Society


The Polynesian Voyaging Society was founded in 1973 on a legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration, seeking to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, one another and their natural and cultural environments.


For more information about the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Worldwide Voyage, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google+.


Note: The Polynesian Voyaging Society is sensitive to and understands the importance of diacritical markings. In mediums where the reproduction of these markings is true (i.e., in print), diacritical markings will be used. If a communication crosses several mediums to include the Web, which does not always reproduce diacritical markings correctly, diacritical markings will not be used.


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