An online campaign in partnership with local musicians has raised over $30,000 to support a worldwide voyage using traditional, Polynesian methods of navigation.
The Polynesian Voyaging Society in partnership with local artists Charles “Chucky Boy” Chock, Jack Johnson and Paula Fuga raised $32,614.50 after launching the song “Na Hookele Opiopio (The Young Navigators).”
“The inspiration was very easy,” said Chock, a Kauai native who wrote the song after spending time with Polynesian Voyaging Society President Nainoa Thompson in 2012 and sailing on the Hokulea in 2013. “Watching the kids, the new navigators, do their work was amazing, so the song came pretty easily. Just watching them do what they do, whenever Nainoa spoke, he had their full attention.”
The funds support the Malama Honua (to care for our Earth) Worldwide Voyage, a journey using two Polynesian voyaging canoes: Hokulea and Hikianalia. The voyage — which seeks to educate communities around the world about the values of traditional wayfinding — will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 countries through 2017.
Chock said it took him five minutes to compose the song and had help translating some of the lyrics from English to Hawaiian from a local kumu.
About 525 contributors downloaded the song from RallySong.com from March to April this year.
“A kumu at Kawaikini school, a charter Hawaiian school here on Kauai, she helped with the Hawaiian part,” he said.
Chock said he’s in the process of trying to recruit other musicians to launch similar campaigns to support the voyage.
“Brother Noland – we’re co-writing stuff for the Hokulea,” he said. “Mike Kaawa and Roland Cazimero – we’ll be coming up with stuff that we collaborated on. Right as we speak, they’re rehearsing it.”
Chock said he and his fellow musicians will become more involved with marketing future crowd-funding campaigns.
“It’s as if not everybody heard of (the song),” he said. “We’ll have to sit on a committee with the marketing part.”
Although the mark was short of the $75,000 goal, Chock said the amount raised was “better than nothing.”
Thompson said he is grateful for the artists for honoring the next generation of navigators.
“Across the globe, there are young people with the courage to set a new course and protect our natural environment,” he said in a statement. “They are leaders and navigators, whether they are on canoes or not, and we hope this campaign will provide a way for people to join our voyage.
Johnson said the Polynesian discovery of islands throughout Pacific was “one of humanity’s most amazing achievements.”
“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,” he said. “We are proud to support them with this song.”
Crews aboard both canoes began the five-year journey from Hawaii in 2013. Since then, they’ve traveled to ports in Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa and Australia. In the next two years, the canoes will travel along the West Coast of the Mainland, Panama, Rome, Costa Rica, Galapagos, Rapa Nui, Pitcairn and French Polynesia.
Hokulea first set sail from Hawaii to Tahiti in 1976 and has since sailed over 130,000 nautical miles across the Pacific.