In 1975, a small group named the Polynesian Voyaging Society kickstarted a cultural Hawaiian renaissance by building the Hōkūle’a: a voyaging canoe similar to those which carried their ancestors throughout the Pacific Ocean using only traditional navigation knowledge. Seventeen crew members set out to cross 2500 nautical miles to Tahiti, guided by their trained senses, strong intuition and an intimate knowledge of the sea.

Today, some 43 years later, there are 20+ voyaging canoes keeping this tradition alive, complemented with education programs as they cross the oceans. Photographer and crew member Brendan George Ko documents his time in these canoes in his series Moemoeā, capturing the people and landscapes he encountered during this sacred, life-changing experience. Each voyage carries the wisdom of their ancestors into the future. “We see the canoe moving beyond the image of old Hawaii and where it is taking its people. Reaching the far and beyond, to awaken the spirit from within.” Visit more of Ko’s work on his website and Instagram.