Voyaging Canoe, Hawai`iloa
57-foot canoe was named for the voyager Hawai'iloa, who according to
one tradition, was the first discoverer of Hawai'i. He is said to
have found the islands on a long fishing expedition from the south
or west, from a land called Ka-'aina-kai-melemele-a-Kane, "The land
of the yellow sea of Kane." He returned home and came back to
Hawai'i with his wife and followers, including eight navigators.
Because only Hawai'iloa brought his wife with him, all Hawaiians are
said to be descended from him. The island of Hawai'i was named for
him, while Maui, O'ahu, and Kaua'i were named after his children.
The Voyage to Nukuhiva
Scholars believe that
early voyages of settlement to Hawai'i, over 1600 years ago, came
from the Marquesas Islands. The argument for a Marquesan origin of
some of the early settlers is based in part on linguistic and
biological evidence. Archaeologist Patrick Kirch writes, "Indeed,
the close relationship between the Hawaiian and Marquesan languages
as well as between the physical populations constitutes strong and
mutually corroborative evidence that the early Hawaiians came from
the Marquesas" (Feather Gods and Fishhooks 64).
Adzes, fishhooks, and
pendants found at an early settlement site at Ka Lae on the Big
Island of Hawai'i resemble those found in the Marquesas, Also, the
Marquesas Islands are the best departure point for sailing to
Hawai'i from the South Pacific because they are closer and farther
east (upwind) than the Society Islands or the Cook Islands, two
other possible sources of early migrants.
From 1990-1995, in
order to help recover Hawaiian voyaging arts, PVS was contracted to
build a replica of traditional double-hulled voyaging canoe. This
canoe was named Hawai'iloa. In the spring of 1995, PVS will sail
Hawai'iloa along with the older voyaging canoe Hokule'a to Tahiti
and Nukuhiva (Marquesas Islands) and back to Hawai`i. Linguistic and
archaeological evidence suggests that early Polynesian settlers to
Hawai`i came from those islands. The closest language to Hawaiian is
a Marquesan dialect spoken in the southern Isles of Hiva.
The 1995 voyage will
retrace this early migration route to Hawai`i from the Marquesas in
order to recover voyaging values, traditions and practices. Daily
reports from the canoes will be posted on this information service.