Inside the Classroom: Hawaiian Voyaging at Punahou

More about Punahou’s Hawaiian Voyaging Program

The Punahou Hawaiian Voyaging program is an important part of the Design Technology and Engineering Center (DTE) umbrella and offers an interdisciplinary place-based curriculum for students across various grade levels. The program provides a multitude of learning opportunities in such subjects as sustainability, social studies, engineering, oceanography, astronomy, traditional Hawaiian knowledge, navigation, history and sailing skills. As wayfinding allows us to comprehend and navigate both the external and internal world, students can learn and grow from this field.

Voyaging is one of many interconnected pathways for Academy students within DTE, alongside Engineering, Robotics, Fabrication, Computer Science, Global Sustainability by Design (GSD) and Industrial design. The Voyaging program at the Academy level is comprised, in part, by three classes: a yearlong course, Introduction to Social Studies: Mālama Honua, which is designed for ninth graders; a semester-long elective class, Voyaging: Nā Kelamoku, open to Academy students; and Voyaging Kilohana Capstone, a semester-long course for seniors. 

Kamaola, Punahou’s double-hulled sailing canoe, embodies the essence of the Voyaging program. Initially proposed by a student, the canoe has now materialized as a seaworthy vessel with assistance from several departments across the campus and community groups on the island. Academy students can interact directly with Kamaola through the Voyaging club, student activity days, and field trips via classes from several departments.

The lessons, concepts and Hawaiian culture elements tied to Kamaola are part of a renewed effort in Punahou’s curriculum to foster a fertile environment for the exploration of modern technology in the context of traditional wisdom and mindset.

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