Malama Honua

Mālama Honua is the Worldwide Voyage of the Polynesian sailing canoe Hōkūle‘a, which spread learning grounded in culture and sustainability during its three-year, 60,000-mile journey around the earth. Mālama Honua is a journey of transformation and self-discovery that aims to inspire communities everywhere to rethink and engage. While this worldwide voyage has ended, the Educational Wa‘a sail on.

To learn more about the Department's efforts to engage, educate and inspire a movement of care for our oceans, cultures and people, visit: Voyaging with Hōkūleʻa


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Our global learning journey

The worldwide voyage of the Hōkū​le‘a is an invitation to students, educators, our Island community and the world to explore values that will “Mālama Honua” — care for the planet. If we can live sustainably and in harmony on a canoe, and on an island, we can and will extend those practices for “Island Earth.”

The educational journey began with Mālama Hawai‘i, a tour of the Hawaiian Islands that included visits with more than 20,000 schoolchildren and their teachers to connect the community to the values and mission of the voyage. That culminated on Nov. 4, 2013 with the “Promise to Children” — a partnership of Hawai‘i education representatives and the Polynesian Voyaging Society to support and collaborate on community-based education aligned with the voyage.

Preparing our youth for college, careers, and their communities is not independent of the world they reside in and will someday lead. Steered by the Promise, the voyage presents a unique opportunity to inspire and engage our students, families, communities, and each other.

Hōkū​le‘a returned to Honolulu on June 17, 2017, after traveling 60,000 nautical miles, and visiting 150 ports and 23 nations and territories. The crew accomplished this relying on traditional skills of navigation, using stars, sun and wind to guide them. Though this worldwide voyage has ended, the Educational Wa‘a sails on as the inspirational lessons to care for the planet and our communities live on in our schools.

Success st​​ories

A sample of schools and educators adopting the learning voyage:

  • Lunalilo Elementary​ adopted the Worldwide Voyage with project-based and cultural learning across all grades. (See video, below.)
  • Nineteen educators participated ​in a New Zealand Study Tour​ that is fostering international understanding and catalyzing opportunities.
  • Kaimuki High hospitality track students worked with artist Estria to create a mural that lauds the bravery and positive outlook of the Worldwide Voyage.
  • Kailua Intermediate connected with Hōkū​le‘a ​during its visit to South Africa via Google Hangout​, discussing mankind's earliest origins with a paleoarchaeologist working at Pinnacle Point caves at Mossel Bay.
  • Mālama​ Honua​ has become a personal mission for teacher Shauna Hirota​ as she participated in professional development to create engaging interdisciplinary curriculum for her students around the voyage and its mission​​. 
  • Kahuku High & Intermediate teacher Matthew Kanemoto shares his experience​ aboard the wa‘a.​​
  • Wa‘a Talks​ connect educators to learning aligned with the Worldwide Voyage. 
  • PBS Hawaii's HIKI NO student storytelling program produced this episode about Malama Honua and the voyage.


Educational exchange

  • In April 2017, the Hawai‘i DOE formalized an educational exchange partnership with Tahiti schools. The agreement coincided with the Hōkū​le‘a and Hikianalia's arrival in Tahiti, last stop before coming home from the Worldwide Voyage. [VIEW]
    • The students and teachers at Tahiti's Taaone school, who have visited Radford High, worked on this video for Hawai‘i students who would be exchanging with them, providing subtitles for four Polynesian languages and French that are spoken there. [VIEW]
  • In March 2015, AUT University welcomed education leaders from Hawai‘i to a cultural exchange summit organized by Te Ara Poutama, AUT’s Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development, and Te Ipukarea, AUT’s National Māori Language Institute. View video.


  • Mālama Honua Learning Center
    The Polynesian Voyaging Society and its educational partners launched the Learning Center website to support learners of all ages to build creative solutions for Hawaii and the world. It’s an interactive portal allowing students and educators to ask questions of the crew, download curricular resources and share their own curriculum and stories.
  • World Conservation Congress resource bank​
    In Sept. 2016, Hawai‘i welcomed the World Conservation Congress (WCC), a global gathering held every four years organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The goal of this Resource Bank is to provide educators with a starting point for locating resources relevant to the themes of IUCN and WCC, particularly biodiversity, food and water security, and climate change.​

Contact Information

Community Engagement Office

Phone: 808-305-0691


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