A large welcoming ceremony is planned for Monday, but a contingent from Hawaii already arrived last week, including three students from the island of Hawaii.
Three high school students from the “Kanu O Ka’aina” public charter school in Waimea were selected for the Australian National Maritime Museum’s U.S.A. Gallery Bill Lane Fellowship.
They joined five indigenous high school students from Australia for three days of cross-cultural exchange and sharing of indigenous knowledge, such as a building a model of an aboriginal Nawi bark canoe.
This exchange was planned with Hokulea’s visit and with Malama Honua world voyage in mind, especially its theme of conservation.
“I’ve never really had the experience to mingle with a lot of indigenous youth and I really like that we get to meet like aboriginals of this ‘aina from that they come from and we get to learn and exchange with them,” said Kaihikapu Maikui, a Kanu O Ka ‘aina student.
“It’s invigorating because you believe the future is gonna be so much better, when you see students as bright as these, as passionate as they are, they care about wildlife, they care about conservation of our world, and they’re very proud for their history as a people,” said U.S. Ambassador to Australia, John Berry.
Other activities included a Sydney Harbor tour, visiting indigenous rock paintings, weaving workshops, performances, talks and an astronomy tour.
They will also be greeting Hokulea and her crew on Monday by paddling out to her in a full-sized Nawi aboriginal canoe.
This is the first time the fellowship has been awarded to more than one fellow.