Indigenous

Traditional Polynesian canoe on around-the-world journey reaches NYC

A traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe on an around-the-world journey reached New York City.

'Warm and beautiful welcoming' by Shinnecock Nation, says crew member Kalani Kahalioumi

Crew members of the Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hokulea sing from their vessel at port in New York. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

A traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe on an around-the-world journey reached New York City.

Thousands of people gathered in Manhattan to welcome the Hokulea and its crew. The double-hulled canoe was greeted by New York officials and a traditional ceremony by Native American tribes upon its arrival Sunday, reported Hawaii News Now.

"It was a warm and beautiful welcoming by the Native American people," said crew member Kalani Kahalioumi. "Hokulea is here right in front of the World Trade Center and she's happy."

Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson, right, and navigator Bruce Blakenfeld receive gifts from members of the Shinnecock Nation during ceremonies to welcome the arrival of the Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hokulea in New York. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)
Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and navigator of the Hokulea, will make a presentation before the United Nations on Wednesday for this year's World Oceans day.

"There's something special that this canoe carries on behalf of our home that I think this world not only respects but needs," said Thompson. "So to everybody in Hawaii that made this happen, and to the thousands that aren't here, and to all those that made the long journey, we're just deeply, deeply grateful."

Hokulea crew members are sailing without modern navigation equipment and have travelled more than 23,000 miles through five oceans, stopping in 55 ports in 12 countries. The crew is teaching people in other countries about traditional navigation, Native Hawaiian culture and caring for the ocean.