WES fourth graders experience Hokulea voyage through classmate

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WAIMEA — Waimea Elementary fourth-grader Kennedi Magaoay took a journey last month that no one her age has ever taken before. She was the youngest member of Hokulea’s Hawaii land-based crew to meet the voyagers in Raiatea — the second largest of the Society Islands after Tahiti in French Polynesia — during their two-week visit to the area April 15-May 1.

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WAIMEA — Waimea Elementary fourth-grader Kennedi Magaoay took a journey last month that no one her age has ever taken before. She was the youngest member of Hokulea’s Hawaii land-based crew to meet the voyagers in Raiatea — the second largest of the Society Islands after Tahiti in French Polynesia — during their two-week visit to the area April 15-May 1.

Magaoay learned valuable life lessons while on the trip.

“The most important things were teamwork and friendships,” she said.

She shared more in a presentation for her classmates when she returned.

“Kennedi told me that she was going to go there and Tahiti because her uncles and aunties have all been a part of Hokulea, and they are just finishing,” said her WES fourth-grade teacher, Suzy Ho. “When she came back, she did a PowerPoint presentation for our class, sharing what she learned. The students can really relate to different aspects of her journey, especially with the movie, ‘Moana,’ recently coming out.”

Magaoay’s nickname, given to her by locals in Tahiti, was vaiana — meaning moana in Tahitian.

Her knowledge runs in the family. Magaoay’s uncle, Shaftton Kaupu-Cabuag, is part of Hokulea’s teaching team.

“Monitoring fish numbers is one of the most important things we can do for our ocean,” he said during a presentation for Ho’s students May 18 during their Hawaiian Studies class. “If we prepare now, and make sure we have enough for generations to come, we’ll be good.”

Looking at a map, he outlined Hokulea’s worldwide voyage, now in its third year, while students identified the continents and islands where the canoe has traveled.

“They thought they were lost on the route to Easter Island,” Kaupu-Cabuag explained, pointing to the specific area. “Then they got back on track.”

He also showed how the star map is used by the crew, while the students repeated akau, hema, hikina and komohana — the Hawaiian words for north, south, east and west — as well as many other terms.

Another main point they learned during the presentation was that all Hokulea team members are key.

“Everybody is important and has a function. Can you go anywhere without a caption, cook, navigator or other crew members? No. I’m not a part of the crew, but am with the teaching team that helped create the multiple curriculum for teachers,” Kaupu-Cabuag said. “The crews change regularly. Sometimes the members get sick and are flown home.”

Towards the end of the class, Ho’s students enthusiastically repeated in Hawaiian Aihaa Hokulea — a call to order chant that puts a crew and participants in streamline focus to prepare for what’s to come — after which Kaupu-Cabuag and his niece demonstrated the dance to accompany it.

“You should be proud to do the hula,” he said. “Hoe means to paddle,” he explained while demonstrating the movement that goes with it. “30,000 people know this song. Aihaa means to bend. Pa means to start. When she (Hokulea) arrives back here there will be a huge celebration. You can follow her travels in the meantime at Hokulea.com.”

Before departing, the fourth-graders presented Magaoay’s uncle with a lei and gift. After he left, she continued leading her classmates in the dance and song.

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“The students were so impressed with the dance they learned that they agreed to start their class each day doing it together,” Ho said. “I’ve never seen such leadership. It’s been more team building than I’ve seen, all by themselves. They are getting pumped up. I’m just so thrilled with everything that has happened.”

Hokulea Captain Pomai Bertelmann, Navigator Ka’iulani Murphy and Quarter Master Pua Lincoln — also Waimea residents — will bring Hokulea home June 17 to Magic Island on Oahu. A larger celebration will take place at Kualoa Ranch on the east side of Oahu June 23.

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