Remarks of Governor David Ige
June 17, 2017 at Magic Island
Aloha. It is such an honor and privilege for me to be here today.
On behalf of the state of Hawai‘i, I would like to welcome and congratulate the beautiful voyaging canoes, Hōkūle’a and Hikianalia back to our island shores. Congratulations!
Congratulations to all those who were part of the Hōkūle’a movement. This epic journey started 3 years ago and 46,000 miles later, Hōkūle’a visited more than 150 ports and 19 countries, the longest voyage in recorded history. Congratulations to all!
I know that the people of the first nation of Hawai‘i whose culture and language, and spirit and values, is the essence of what makes Hawai‘i special–and those who embraced and encouraged all those who voyaged to these islands after and invited and included all those who voyaged thereafter to become part of the spirit of Hawai‘i.
Although there were 14 members who sailed on the Hōkūle’a, I know that there were thousands and thousands of young children were included from Hawai‘i and throughout the world who joined you in spirit, who sailed with you in heart and mind. We were inspired by your courage, your determination and your focus to Malama Honua.
As you prepared and set sail three years ago, we knew that the immense environmental challenges facing the world were upon us. And we, here in Hawai‘i made a promise – that you would return to a place that embraces the responsibility of being the guiding light to a safer, more sustainable future.
On your voyage around the world, at every port you shared the message of Malama Honua – caring for our island earth.
We see the impact of our collective actions more and more each and every day – sea level rise, coral bleaching, marine debris – growing all around the world.
The world is in peril. Our challenges are great.
Here in Hawai‘i, we see these impacts firsthand. We are on the front lines of this struggle to protect our island earth because we know that the health of our environment is inextricably linked to our own health and livelihood and well-being.
We have seen that we humans have the power to destroy. But we also have the power to change the sail plan: to restore and protect, to commit to a sustainable future.
And Hōkūle’a has inspired us to stand up and be counted.
Watching you on your epic voyage, you taught us that there is more that connects the world than divides us.
Like the voyaging canoe Hōkūle’a, we are one canoe, one island, one planet. We cannot afford to fail.
Last fall, we welcomed more than 9,000 representatives from more than 190 communities and countries from all around the world to Hawai‘i to participate in the World Conservation Congress – the largest gathering of leaders committed to conversation in the world – to share, to learn, to build lasting partnerships to better protect our shared island earth.
And there we launched the Sustainable Hawai‘i initiative, committing to managing our watersheds and nearshore oceans, doubling food production, combatting invasive species, and reaching 100% renewable energy for electricity.
And last week, Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to commit to the Paris climate agreement.
Let me be the first to say it started with Hōkūle’a. This journey would not have been possible without the Hōkūle’a and all of those who came before us. Hōkūle’a’s worldwide voyage proved that Hawai‘i can lead the way. It gave us a promise for a different future that we can change the world. Hōkūle’a showed us that together we are greater than the sum of the parts. That together we can make a difference for our beloved planet earth.
Now that the voyage has come to an end, we must be committed in our daily lives each and every day to embrace and live the policies and programs that will change our environment, change our planet, change our world for the future.
United, we can change the trajectory of Hawai‘i and the world for generations to come.
Congratulations! Mahalo and welcome home!
Thank you for the inspiration. Aloha! Mahalo!
I cannot express how truly special and privileged I feel to be able to be a part of this once in a lifetime ceremony. I know that it will never happen again. The Polynesian Voyaging Society and Hōkūle’a has inspired all of us and it is an honor and privilege as Governor of the State of Hawai‘i to proclaim June 17th as Hōkūle’a Homecoming day 2017. Mahalo!
Video: Governor Ige’s speech at 49:57