A traditional Polynesian canoe has arrived in Sydney from Hawaii as part of its 42,000 nautical mile journey across the globe.
Tara Callinan

19 May 2015 - 9:00 PM  UPDATED 29 Jun 2015 - 8:30 PM

A 40-year-old Polynesian canoe has docked at Sydney’s National Maritime Museum as part of its four year journey to raise awareness for environmental conservation.

The 19-metre vessel known as Hokule'a was guided into Sydney Harbour by an Aboriginal bark canoe before the captain and crew were welcomed onshore with a traditional smoking ceremony.

Crew member Kaleo Wong described it as an honour.

“We heard about their canoes that they have and how they paddled around and travelled in their canoes, but we’ve never seen them before,” he said.

“At least for me, this was the first time actually seeing them in the water with the smoke inside.”

Between 12 and 14 crew members are set to stay onboard the Hokule'a at any one time, but it’s only Captain Bruce Blakenfeld who knows how to navigate using traditional Polynesian methods.

“You navigate with everything that nature provides you with,” he said.

“At the best of times it’s the stars at night, the moon and of course the sun during the day.”

Hokule'a, which means star of gladness, is expected to unite thousands of people from 26 separate nations on its global mission to create a more sustainable world.

Hawaii’s Hokulea will remain docked at Sydney's National Maritime Museum until Saturday May 23.

(Track the voyage of Hokule'a here)