Polynesian Voyaging Society: Master Mau Mural, Hokulea Hatch Covers, Hikianalia Hale

Hokule’a is a double-hulled Hawaiian voyaging canoe built in the 1970’s that is navigated with ancient techniques of non-instrumental wayfinding. Along with her sister canoe Hikianalia the two canoes will leave Hawaii on a three and a half year voyage from 2014-2017 around the world using nothing but the sun, wind, waves, currents and stars to guide them over 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, and 26 countries.

To honor the canoes Kamea Hadar and POW! WOW! Hawaii teamed up with the organization that operates them, Polynesian Voyaging Society, to beatify the boats, educate the youth, bring awareness to their upcoming worldwide voyage, and to honor those who made it possible. The project consisted of three parts, the painting of Hikianalia’s Hale or cabin, painting of Hokulea’s hatch covers, and the mural of Papa Mau Piailug.

With the students of the POW! WOW! School of Art/808 Urban painted a mural of Papa Mau Piailug. The painting is in the heart of Kakaako, Hawaii home of POW! WOW! Hawaii. Papa Mau was a Master Navigator from the island of Satawal, Micronesia and was the first navigator of Hokulea. Mau helped to teach Hawaiian navigators the art of non-instrumental wayfinding, ensuring the survival of the once near-extinct art form.

“When looking for reference photos I looked through photos of the maiden voyage and found an amazing photo of Papa Mau staring towards the horizon with an intense look. The photo immediately spoke to me but I still wanted to make sure that it truly captured who he was as a person. While sitting with Uncle Billy Richards, a crew member of the maiden voyage, Uncle Billy mentioned that one of his favorite photos of Mau was one that reminded him of a quote: ‘To be a navigator, you have to be fierce.’ When I heard that I showed him the image that I had chosen and Uncle Billy smiled and said, ‘That's the one, that's the look that he had that you knew that he would get you home.’ “

The kids of the POW! WOW! School of Art, 808 Urban and Mele Murals along with artists Kamea Hadar, Prime and Estria painted the undersides of Hokulea’s hatch covers that protect the hollow hulls where food, water and other supplies are kept. Each of the hatch covers represents a location in the Pacific that Hokulea has sailed to including Raro Tonga, Palau, Japan, the Pacific Northwest and Tahiti. In return for their art, the Polynesian Voyaging Society took the artists on an evening sail to teach them more about the canoes and use of stars in navigation.

With the help of Fitted’s Keola Rapozo, the “hale” or cabin of Hikianalia was painted with Keola’s water pattern to not only beautify the canoe but to cut down on the glare while at sea. On the roof of the Hale, POW! WOW! Hawaii’s Kamea Hadar painted the Iwi kuamo’o, the constellation that Hokulea navigators use to find their Hawaii home and includes Hokulea and Hikianalia, the sister stars which the two canoes got their name from that break the horizon and rise together.