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An evening with Nainoa Thompson in San Francisco

An evening with Nainoa Thompson in San Francisco

Earlier this week I attended "An Evening with Pwo Navigator Nainoa Thompsom" in San Francisco.

What's happening: Via an email newsletter from the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce of Northern California, I found out Nainoa would be speaking at the Herbst Theatre on Tuesday.

My takeaways: 

  • Nainoa is one of four Pwo in Hawaii
  • Referred to Herb Kane as the dreamer
  • Herb Kane was the first captain of the Hokulea
  • Nainoa reflecting on his teacher, Mau Piailug.: "Mau didn' t like maps."
  • There are 22,500 fluent ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi speakers now
  • During its first journey, Mau was on the Hokulea for only the trip to Papeete. He did not join them on the way back to Honolulu.
  • Hokulea was originally constructed for one journey
  • "There was a vision for a second voyage."
  • 1978 was the second voyage. "We didn't prepare well."
  • "Eddie Aikau was the true hero."
  • "Eddie Aikau, I would say, was the most respected person in the state of Hawaii."
  • "Every cell in that man's body was engineered to save that race." Nainoa on Eddie.
  • Nainoa's dad was a social worker by trade
  • Nainoa was a commercial fisherman in his youth
  • Mau trained Nainoa for 28 months as a navigator 
  • "Never let your crew members know you're scared." Mau
  • 1980 was the third voyage. That time, Mau was there for both legs.
  • "There's no difference between Mau and the wave." Nainoa on Mau's connection to the ocean.
  • In the early nineties, Nainoa became close friends with NASA astronaut Lacy Veach
  • On his death bed, Lacy asked Nainoa to promise him to sail the Hokulea around the world.
  • The current journey, Moananuiākea: 43,000 miles in 47 months. It started in April 2022.
  • After his dad passed away, Byron Mallott became Nainoa's mentor. 

Why it matters: The last time the Hokulea was in San Francisco was back in 1995. Plus too, my mom would be nuha if I never go see Nainoa talk.

The bottom line: The Hokulea is Hawaii's ambassador to the world. A wa‘a kaulua we can all be proud of. 

See also: Hokulea crew arrives in San Francisco for first time in 28 years

Enjoy the pics!



Nainoa Thompson and his dad


Nainoa and Eric Tao (HCCNC President)


Nainoa and the Hokulea at Kualoa Beach, Oahu


Great catching up with the HCCNC crew


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