Nainoa Thompson Is a Pwo Navigator and a world leader in revitalizing Polynesian culture and raising awareness of the peril our oceans are in due to climate change. In 1976 he was a part of the crew of the double-hulled Polynesian canoe Hōkūle’a on her trip from Tahiti to Hawaii using only traditional navigation techniques and tools – the first Hawaiian in over 600 years to practice the near-extinct art of wayfinding. He subsequently sailed in the 1985-87 trans-Pacific Voyage of Rediscovery and was the master navigator on the Hōkūle’a 2014 circumnavigation of the globe.
Nainoa has earned numerous honors, including the Unsung Hero of Compassion, awarded by His Holiness XIV Dalai Lama on behalf of Wisdom in Action; the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award; and National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal, to name just a few. He is poised to be the lead navigator on the Moananuiākea Voyage, a 41,000-mile, 42-month circumnavigation of the Pacific.