Wednesday was a pivotal point in Hokulea's voyage around the world as her crew and their voyage were celebrated on World Oceans Day.

Hokulea sailed along the east river as dignitaries gathered in the shadow of the United Nations for a simple ceremony to celebrate World Oceans Day. 

Hokulea was the cornerstone for the celebration. Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson returned to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon a bottle with a message. The Secretary General presented the bottle to Thompson two years ago in Apia, Samoa. It contained a hand written note: a promise to protect our oceans.

Since that day two years ago, the crew of the canoe collected more than two dozen similar declarations from around the world. The UN leader says it’s critical to take care of our oceans.

“Oceans may seem endless, but there are limits to how we should use them,” said Moon. “We are dangerously close to breaking that limit. The way we treat our oceans affect their future. Our biodiversity and overwhelming of people and the planet.”

There was a presentation of hula for the UN leader along with a performance of a special song for the Secretary General, a name song in his honor.

The celebration continued across the river at the United Nations where Thompson addressed the crowd urging leaders to help navigate change.

"And against these stories of highly developed countries overconsuming, taking so much and not giving back, recognizing that in that plan, it's not going to work,” said Thompson.

Several hundred Hawaii people were there too, supporting Hokulea, and watched as Hawaii student Uilani Hayes spoke about their kuleana.

“These declarations urge us to turn past mistakes into future achievements,” said Uilani Hayes, a student at Halau Ku Mana. “We can't just read the declarations. We need to do them, live them, breathe them, enact them and uphold them.”

Hokulea will remain in New York until about June 18th. Then she'll head to New England. Looking for more stories of hope from people who malama honua, care for our earth.