MAY 1, 1976


Hōkūleʻa, a performance-accurate Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe, was built in 1975 by the Polynesian Voyaging Society. Known for her 1976 Hawaiʻi to Tahiti voyage completed using only Polynesian celestial navigation techniques, Hōkūleʻa’s journey was led by Captain Elia David Kuʻualoha “Kawika” Kapahulehua & Master Navigator Pius “Mau” Piailug. Leaving from Honolua Bay, Maui, as part of the U.S. Bicentennial, their main purpose was to explore the anthropological theories behind the Asiatic origin of native Oceanic people–purposeful trips or passive drifting on currents. A secondary goal was to promote the “cultural revitalization of Hawaiians and other Polynesians.” The return leg employed western instruments. From 1976-2009, the canoe completed 9 voyages to Micronesia, Polynesia, Japan, Canada & the U.S., using celestial navigation techniques. From May 18, 2014 to June 17, 2017, Hōkūle‘a & her sister vessel, Hikianalia, completed a circumnavigation of the earth.

  Ben Finney, “1976 Hawai‘i to Tahiti and Back,” Hawaiian Voyaging Traditions.  Retrieved 7/28/2022,    1976 Hawai‘i to Tahiti and Back (
Photo: Phil Uhl, 8/26/1976. Permissive Use.

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