Song of Hokulea

In the picture taken aboard the Hokulea, Chucky Boy Chock, Jack Johnson and Nainoa Thompson, are laughing and smiling. It was, clearly, a great moment.

It was something more, too.

“All the witnesses are here,” Thompson said. “They saw that Jack and Chucky are totally committed. This is our contract.”

A picture isn’t usually a binding contract, but in this case, it was as good as gold.

Chock and Johnson, on that November day, agreed to do what they could to celebrate 40 years of Hokulea and raise funds for Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

And the results of that collaboration were announced Tuesday with the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s launch of an online campaign at RallySong.com that offers a chance to download the song, “Na Ho’okele Opoipio (The Young Navigators),” which was written by Kauai’s well-known musician Chock and recorded with Johnson and Paula Fuga.

“I’m just privileged and honored to help Hokulea,” Chock said.

“With the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, we have a new generation of navigators exploring the Earth and bringing people together to find a sustainable future,” Johnson said. “We are proud to support them with this song.”

Cultivating and nurturing the next generation of navigators is a focus for the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, which seeks to educate others about the values of traditional wayfinding (non-instrument navigation) and the importance of caring for Earth.

“We are grateful to Jack Johnson, Chucky Boy, and Paula for honoring our next generation of navigators,” said Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Across the globe, there are young people with the courage to set a new course and protect our natural environment. They are our leaders and navigators, whether they are on canoes or not, and we hope this campaign will provide a way for more people to join our voyage.”

Hokulea, a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, is celebrating 40 years this year since her first launch from the sacred shores of Hakipuu-Kualoa in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, on March 8, 1975. The iconic canoe helped contribute to a significant generation of renewal for Hawaiian culture and language, and revitalized voyaging and navigation traditions throughout the Pacific Ocean.

The Hawaiian name for this journey, Malama Honua, means “to care for our Island Earth” and is taking Hokulea and her sister canoe Hikianalia across the oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017. The canoes are currently in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Chock, who has written hundreds of songs, describes “Na Ho’okele Opoipio” as a Hawaii folk song that tells of youth moving forward in life, going through a learning process with the guidance of teachers.

“It’s very simple,” he said. “It’s typical Chucky. I’m not going to go mainstream.”

Johnson’s voice, Chock said, added something special to it.

“When you listen to Jack explain it in song, it just makes a lot of sense,” he said.

It was that November day with a group of youngsters on Hokulea that Chock played his song for one of the first times. At the end, Johnson turned to him and said, “We have to collaborate on that song.”

“I said, ‘We do?’” Chock recalled.

They did.

When Johnson said he wanted to sing the song for the fundraiser, Chock was delighted.

“I was honored,” he said.

The two men are longtime friends and have impressive careers.

Johnson grew up surfing and playing guitar in Hawaii. Since 2001, he has released six studio albums and two live albums that have sold over 20 million copies worldwide. He and his wife Kim founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation to support environmental education in Hawaii’s schools and communities, as well as the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation to support environmental, art and music education worldwide.

Chock is a Native Hawaiian composer and musician. He expresses the importance for him to use the Hawaiian language in his songwriting. He and his wife Pammy care deeply about their community, giving their time and resources to several nonprofits. After spending time with Thompson in 2012 and sailing on Hokulea in 2013, Chock was inspired to compose music for the Worldwide Voyage.

He’s honored to share his composition “Na Ho’okele Opiopio” with Johnson and Fuga.

“Jack, Paula and I agreed to tell the world, Malama Honua Hokulea,” he said.

Proceeds from the RallySong campaign will benefit PVS and the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. In addition to purchasing and downloading the song, fans can also purchase collector’s items and enter a raffle for a chance to win grand prizes such as an ukulele autographed by Johnson and a Papa Hee Nalu (small wood surfboard), crafted with mahogany wood from the deckboards of the Hokulea. The campaign runs through April 25 with a fundraising goal of $75,000.

“This fundraiser comes at a critical juncture for PVS and the Worldwide Voyage, as we prepare to leave the Pacific for the first time,” said PVS Chief Executive Officer Clyde Namuo. “In 2015, we will be traveling from New Zealand to Australia and South Africa, and every contribution from our community will make it possible for us to complete this historic leg of our journey around the world.”

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