Photo Credit: Monte Costa

Hawai‘i, our special island home, is a place where the land and sea are cared for and people and communities are healthy and safe.

Photo Credit: Monte Costa

Hawai‘i, our special
island home, is a place where the land and sea are cared for and people and communities are healthy and safe.

Our Vision

Myron Pinky Thompson provided a core vision that we have carried on our canoes for nearly 50 years. In essence, it is simple; in application, it is deep and complex. As former president of PVS, Pinky’s vision united past, present and future by reaffirming that traditional Polynesian values applied universally across time
and space.

“Before our ancestors set out to find a new island,” he explained, “they had to have a vision of that island over the horizon. They made a plan for achieving that vision. They prepared themselves physically and mentally and were willing to experiment, to try new things. They took risks. And on the voyage, they bound each other with aloha so they could together overcome the risks and achieve their vision. You find these same values throughout the world: seeking, planning, experimenting, taking risks and the importance of caring for each other.”

“The same principles that we used in the past,” he often said, “are the ones that we use today and that we will use into the future. No matter what culture we are, or what race, these are values that work for us all.”

Photo Credit: Sam Kapoi


Founded in 1973, the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s mission is to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, each other, and their natural and cultural environments.
Through voyaging, PVS hopes to inspire humanity to care for the earth by highlighting the vital importance of oceans, indigenous knowledge, communities, education and sustainability.


Herb Kawainui Kane
Ben Finney
Tommy Holmes

PVS Leadership

Nainoa thompson

Nainoa Thompson, Pwo Navigator and CEO of Polynesian Voyaging Society, is the son of environmentalist Laura Thompson and social worker and educator Myron “Pinky” Thompson.

In the early 70s, Herb Kawainui Kane brought Nainoa into the effort to build Hokuleʻan and introduced him to the dream of using stars to navigate her. Nainoa studied under Master Navigator Mau Piailug and Bishop Museum Planetarium lecturer Will Kyselka. In 1980, Nainoa became the first Native Hawaiian in 600 years to navigate a voyaging canoe to Tahiti without instruments.

Nainoa has since captained and navigated Hokuleʻa on more than a dozen voyages and has passed on his knowledge for decades.

Bruce Blankenfeld

Bruce Blankenfeld first sailed on Hōkūleʻa during training sails in 1977 and volunteered in dry dock, learning how to care for Hokuleʻa from his mentor Wally Froiseth. He also studied non-instrument navigation under Nainoa Thompson and Master Navigator Mau Piailug, who honored him with Pwo in 2007.

Bruce has voyaged tens of thousands of miles across Polynesia, the Pacific and the world as captain and navigator of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia. He leads repairs and maintenance of both canoes and serves as Voyaging Director and board member for PVS, while also working as a stevedore.

board of directors

  • Ann Botticelli
  • Anthony Mallott
  • Bruce Blankenfeld
  • Catherine Fuller
  • Dennis Fern
  • Eric Co
  • Hardy Spoehr
  • Michael Chun
  • Michael Cunningham
  • Nainoa Thompson
  • Nathan Wong
  • Neil Hannahs
  • Ray Tanabe
  • Tim Johns
  • William Tam
  • Lehua Kamalu
Photo Credit: Jason Patterson