After implementing nearly four years of lessons connected to the Worldwide Voyage of Hōkūleʻa, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will engage in a formalized partnership with Tahiti schools. Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi today made the announcement to education leaders, teachers and students who have incorporated Mālama Honua into their learning.
The shared agreement was established last month during a meeting that coincided with Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia's arrival in Tahiti. Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson also attended the meeting.
"Tahiti and Hawai'i currently enjoy student exchanges through our respective network of schools," said Superintendent Matayoshi. "Tahiti's Education Minister and I signed a commitment to help facilitate these exchanges through a teacher exchange program; to share strategies and curriculum, and lastly start to develop a digital network of resource sharing between schools."
Superintendent Matayoshi stressed that the work done by educators is the "Education Wa'a" of the Mālama Honua journey. She addressed educational leaders, teachers, and partners this morning at Chaminade University's Clarence T.C. Ching Conference Center.
The program included a recap of highlights from Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia's port visits to school projects that incorporated Mālama Honua such as school gardens, community clean ups, environmental research and revitalization and video projects.
King William Lunalilo Elementary Principal Amy Kantrowitz noted, "There has been a change in the mindset of our students, they are much more aware of their responsibility to care for our Island Earth, to care for our culture and each other. That's what we've been instilling these past few years – it's not just an activity, it's a way of thinking."
During the gathering, Thompson shared a message to educators about the importance of the "Promise to Children," and the journey it took to get to the launch of the worldwide voyage.
"It must've been five years ago that I had a meeting with Superintendent Matayoshi, and we talked about an idea about sailing around connecting it to education – strengthening education," shared Thompson. "I want to thank her for her vision and her trust. We would never have taken the risk of the voyage unless we knew it would be worth it."
Thompson stated once Hōkūleʻa returns home, the mission will continue with a statewide sail to visit 100 schools.
The "Promise to Children" was established in November 2013 and signed by educational leaders and hundreds of individuals in support of the Polynesian Voyaging Society's worldwide voyage and the mission of Mālama Honua. The agreement emphasized that lessons passed along to students will inspire them to explore, discover and learn about the Island Earth.
For more information about HIDOE's integration of the Promise to Children and Mālama Honua into its schools and curriculum, click here.