Earth’s Greatest Navigators: Hokulea Honors Richard Branson, Dalai Lama, & Desmond Tutu

Hōkūle‘a passing in front of a mountain with a rainbow overhead

A Symbol of Peace & A Sustainable Planet

The Hōkūle‘a, meaning Star of Gladness, has traveled thousands of nautical miles around the globe, propelled by the winds and tides, and navigated by the stars.

The purpose of Hōkūle‘a’s great voyage is to deliver the message of Malama Honua - To Care For Our Earth. Stopping in 26 different countries, traversing 47,000 nautical miles, and visiting 85 ports, Hōkūle‘a has ceremoniously honored 3 of Earth’s Greatest Navigators in its travels around the world: The Dalai Lama, Richard Branson, and Desmond Tutu. Three men, from three very different walks of life, embody a beautiful message that the voyage of the Hōkūle‘a symbolizes.

Trust in nature and the ability to traverse the expanses of our oceans guided by the constellations of the dark night skies, signals the spirit of courage and foresight by the crewmembers aboard the Hōkūle‘a. The symbolism of navigation of (sometimes treacherous) waters, and the global reach of the journey, seems to be echoed in the qualities that are evident in both the crewmembers and the 3 honored leaders; Tutu, Branson and the Dalai Lama are great navigators of our modern world.

Traditional Hawaiian dance in front of a mountain

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Desmond Tutu navigated a peaceful transition from apartheid South Africa to a democratically elected and all-inclusive government. On the side of righteousness, he has always defended the good of mankind.

Richard Branson has been a navigator of our skies; from hot air balloons to space travel and Virgin Airlines, Branson has fearlessly pursued innovation. A modern take on the Hōkūle‘a’s message.

The Dalai Lama has navigated a difficult spiritual path. Exiled from his home country of Tibet, he has been recognized as one of the joint most popular world leaders in 2013 according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive of New York. Through his message of peace and tolerance, the 14th Dalai Lama brought the east and west together. It is no coincidence that the word dalai means “ocean” and lama “guru”, another significant symbol for the message and meaning of Hōkūle‘a’s journey.

Just as Hawaiians navigated by the stars, guiding the Hōkūle‘a using ancient traditions in a modern world embodies the challenge Hawaiians and the rest of the world face. There is an intersection where ancient wisdom and modern global issues meet. How will we navigate the terrain of climate change, Monsanto, global clean water supply, and world peace? Perhaps this story points the way to a joined and global journey; together, guided by a deeper wisdom and understanding of our planet, fueled by bravery, righteousness, and innovation we can arrive at a more peaceful and good world.

Waiakea Will Proudly Provide Water for Hokulea Crewmembers

The Hōkūle‘a, a traditional Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe, has been faring the open seas for over two years using traditional Polynesian sailing techniques. Operated by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the end goal is to make at least 100 stops in 27 nations, including the East Coast of the United States. Waiakea is proudly providing water for the voyagers on their stops along the East Coast in partnership with OluKai.

Follow the Hōkūle‘a as she makes her way along the East Coast. Sign up above to receive updates on this journey as we greet the Hōkūle‘a on each of her stops with a little piece of home: Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water. Next scheduled stop is Charleston, North Carolina, April 13th at the Outdoor Fest.