Kamehameha Schools Logo

A Native Hawaiian Place of Learning for Voyagers of the World



The traditional hālau wa’a was a longhouse, a covered structure near the shoreline dedicated to all matters related to canoes, and whose linear measure could provide ample shelter for vessels of sizeable length. 

Home  /  Hālau Wa’a (Crew Training)  /  Star Compass

March 2021

Building Their Star Compass

We learned about being a member of the voyaging family, and that if we choose to be a part of voyaging we become a part of the voyaging family. We take care of each other. This past Saturday we went to Nainoa’s to help clean and prepare for the arrival of one of our voyaging family, whose grandson is battling a very serious medical issue. After that, we went on a hike to the ridge above Nainoa’s house, which overlooks Hawaii Kai all the way to Diamond Head. We got there a little before sunset and started on our task to build a star compass using just the sun as our reference point. The star compass was to be around 30 feet in diameter. We would determine how accurate our star compass was when the sun set and the stars became visible in the sky. What you’re seeing in the video is our team building our star compass. After we finished, we sat down and Nainoa spoke with us. He posed one question to us, “What motivates you?” Watch the video in the “Moʻomanaʻo to find out what motivated Nainoa in the midst of great challenges. Nainoa also talked to us about kuleana and transitioning to the new generation of navigators–our generation. As I reflect back on the day, I think about our hike up to the top of the ridge. There were parts of the trail that was easy to see and follow and there were parts that weren’t. Sometimes we had to create our own path, clearing brush and tree branches so others behind us could follow. We all made it to the top, but not all of us took the same route. Life presents itself to us in the same way, sometimes things are clear, sometimes they’re not and we need to create our own path. We all made it to the top of the ridge and successfully built a star compass.

Learning Activities

Video / Grades PreK – 12

Lesson Plan / Grades 1-3 / Science

Digital Activity / Grades 1-3 / Science

Worksheet / Grades 1-3 / Science

Worksheet / Grades 1-3 / Science