Polynesian Voyaging Society and UH Announce Educational Partnership

PVS and UH to collaborate on educational programs focusing on cultural and environmental preservation

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Jan 14, 2003

The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and the University of Hawaiʻi announced today the formation of an affiliation agreement to support each organization‘s efforts in providing educational programs that focus on cultural and environmental preservation. The agreement will allow the two to combine resources to reach a broad spectrum of local students, with the now completely refurbished Hōkūleʻa serving as a primary tool to support the partnership.

In addition to jointly developing programs in areas such as Polynesian navigation, boat design and maintenance, and ocean sciences, the partnership allows for Honolulu Community College‘s Marine Education and Training Center (METC) located on Sand Island to become the headquarters for PVS for education, voyage preparation, and canoe maintenance. PVS will be provided with office space and operational and maintenance areas at the facility.

"This affiliation represents a major change in priorities for the Polynesian Voyaging Society," said Pat Duarte, executive director of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. "Rather than developing educational programs to support our voyaging, PVS will now use our voyages to support educational programs, and we are excited to begin this new approach in partnership with UH and Honolulu Community College‘s marine technologies program."

METC is located on Keʻehi Lagoon and is a state-of-the-art training facility featuring four large work bays that allow work on vessels up to 45 feet, a concrete pier equipped with two cranes to allow work on vessels in the water, finger piers for removing vessels from the water, as well as classroom, laboratory, and office space. Ranked as one of the premier training facilities in the country, it supports Honolulu Community College‘s boat maintenance and repair program.

"This partnership with the Polynesian Voyaging Society is an excellent opportunity to expand the scope of our boat maintenance and repair program to include a more prominent focus on Hawaiian culture, specifically navigational techniques and canoe construction," said Ramsey Pedersen, provost of Honolulu Community College. "We have been interested in taking on a new direction with the Marine Training and Education Center, and this collaboration enables us to do this, in addition to allowing more members of the local marine and navigation community to take advantage of this state-of-the-art facility."

HCC looks forward to aligning the curriculum of the boat maintenance and repair program with "live work" projects involving the maintenance of the Hawaiʻiloa and Hōkūleʻa canoes, as well as the possible construction and maintenance of smaller teaching canoes. There is also the potential to develop opportunities for high school students to participate in courses, internships, and career exploration in an experiential hands-on learning environment, and the opportunity for community lectures and seminars through HCC and PVS.

With a 13-month restoration process recently completed, Hōkūleʻa is available to serve as a valuable resource in support of this partnership. PVS is preparing for Hōkūleʻa‘s first journey since its restoration — a sail throughout the Hawaiian Islands, including the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, as part of a program called "Navigating Change." The program, a partnership with Bishop Museum and several other agencies and organizations, is focused on raising awareness and ultimately motivating people to change their attitudes and behaviors to better care for the islands and its ocean resources.

One of the first activities planned through the partnership is an event at the Marine Education and Training Center to celebrate the return of Hōkūleʻa. Planned for Sunday, January 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., E Ola Hōkūleʻa — Hōkūleʻa Lives is free and open to the public, and will feature local style entertainment, food, storytelling, and educational activities. There will also be tours of Hōkūleʻa throughout the day, and video presentations and slides of past voyages. Drawings will also be held for a chance to win various prizes, including an opportunity to sail on Hōkūleʻa. For more information, contact the PVS office at 536-8405.