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Voyage of RediscoveryA Cultural Odyssey through Polynesia$
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Ben Finney

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780520080027

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520080027.001.0001

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Cultural Revival

Cultural Revival

(p.71) 3 Cultural Revival
Voyage of Rediscovery

Ben Finney

University of California Press

This chapter explains that the purpose in building Hōkūle'a and then sailing her to Tahiti was actually twofold. In addition to resolving issues about seafaring in Polynesia, the canoe and the voyage were intended to serve as vehicles for the revitalization of the culture of Hawai'ians and other Polynesians. In the centuries that have followed their disastrous encounter with the outside world and its epidemic diseases, weapons, and institutions, Hawai'ians, and to a greater or lesser extent other Polynesian groups, have become more and more alienated from their heritage of oceanic exploration and voyaging. Before the project, the great majority of Hawai'ians knew little or nothing about sailing canoes, traditional navigation methods, or the rich oral literature about voyaging back and forth between Hawai'i and Tahiti that inspired the voyagers' plan. It was this estrangement from seafaring skills and traditions that the voyage was intended to reverse.

Keywords:   Hōkūle'a, Tahiti, seafaring, Polynesia, canoe, voyage, culture, Hawai'ians, Polynesians, Hawai'i

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