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Renaissance of the H?k?le‘a

The ancient tradition of the voyaging canoe was revived in the 1970s by a group of canoeists and historians. They built a full-scale replica of a double-hulled canoe, based on what designer Herb Kane and others concluded such a canoe would look like. In 1975 they christened the canoe the H?k?le‘a (the Hawaiian name for the star Arcturus), meaning “Star of Gladness.” The team then set out to prove that a double-hulled canoe could make long sea voyages using only sail power, and navigating solely by the stars and subtle clues carried on the wind and waves.

Historian and artist Herb Kane was a founding member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the general designer of the H?k?le‘a and captain of its launch. His artwork depicts life and canoeing in ancient Hawaii as well as contemporary Hawaiian culture.