Nainoa Thompson Honored at 2015 Peter Benchley Ocean Awards

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Nainoa Thompson Honored at 2015 Peter Benchley Ocean Awards

Washington, D.C. – Nainoa Thompson was honored at the 2015 Peter Benchley Ocean Awards ceremony yesterday alongside Prince Albert II of Monaco and other awardees at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC. President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and captain of the legendary voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa, Thompson was recognized for Excellence in Exploration.


“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of my teachers who came from some of the greatest explorers our Earth has ever seen,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of PVS. “Their resolve and solution-focused perspective is what drives our Worldwide Voyage on Hōkūleʻa today. Our destination is navigating to a place where we see better protection of our oceans through collaboration with people and entities epitomized by the Benchley Awards and their partners.”


These awards–the world’s preeminent ocean honors–are named after lifelong marine conservationist Peter Benchley. The awards program was co-founded by Wendy Benchley, an ocean conservation and policy advocate, and David Helvarg, author and executive director of Blue Frontier. Often referred to as the “Academy Awards” for the ocean, the Benchley Awards recognize excellence across a range of expertise, including national leadership, policy, science, media, youth and grassroots activism.


Thompson was honored for his contributions to marine conservation and exploration as the first Hawaiian in seven centuries to practice the ancient Polynesian art of non-instrument navigation known as “wayfinding”. United States Senator Brian Schatz, who is a powerful voice for marine protection, presented the award to Thompson.


“I can think of no one more deserving of the Award for Excellence in Exploration than Nainoa. Decades ago, Nainoa found the deep seeded strength and beauty of discovery. He worked it, collaborated with others, and actualized it. What’s remarkable is that the energy of this vision grew from a Hawaiian vision, to a Pacific Islands vision and now to a global vision. His life’s work, the Hōkūle‘a, has become a symbol and a tribute to the art of voyaging and the enduring Native Hawaiian culture,” the senator stated.

“As he mentioned, it’s really an honor to all the people of Hawaiʻi, [and] the thousands of volunteers that have made Hōkūleʻa and her many voyages happen.”


Read the Daily News article for more information about Thompson and the Worldwide Voyage.

Livestream: Hōkūleʻa’s Sydney Arrival

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Livestream: Hōkūleʻa’s Sydney Arrival

Join us live when Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa and her crew make landfall in Sydney, Australia. Voyagers on this portion of the 47,000 nautical-mile Worldwide Voyage will meet and exchange with one of the oldest cultures in the world, and discover and celebrate stories of hope from Australia.

Live-streaming anticipated to begin at the following time. Please check back for updates based on weather and follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the most up-to-date information on this landing:

  • 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 18 – AEST (Sydney time)
  • 3 p.m. Monday, May 17  – HST (Hawaii time)

To learn more about the Australian leg of the Worldwide Voyage, click here.

Hawaiian Canoe Hōkūleʻa Sets Sail for Sydney Guided by Ancient Navigation

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Posted by Marisa Hayase in Worldwide Voyage on May 1, 2015

The Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa and her crew have departed New Zealand, on its way to leaving the Pacific Ocean for the first time in her 40-year history. The canoe’s master navigator, Bruce Blankenfeld, will use traditional Polynesian navigation techniques to sail to Australia. The crew of 14 are expected to arrive in Sydney in mid-May. The journey is part of Hōkūleʻa‘s 47,000 nautical-mile sail around the world to bring attention to the importance of protecting environmental and cultural treasures for future generations.
“Australia is on our sail plan because of its incredible natural and cultural treasures, and our desire to explore a part of the world that is new to us,” said Polynesian Voyaging Society president and master navigator, Nainoa Thompson. “It is a place that we can relate to because of the potential of bringing together diverse sectors to care for our ocean. In Hawaii, blending indigenous stewardship practices with other best practices can help us find positive ways forward, and we are seeking to learn from similar approaches in Australia so we can share that knowledge with other communities as we continue to voyage around the world.” ...Read more.