Crew Profile

Tehinamai Mataele Tafiti


Kailua, Oʻahu


Moananuiākea Voyage – Leg 3: Juneau to Ketchikan


Tehinamai is a Cultural Stylist/Instructor and now a Waʻa Kaulua Assistant. Her first sail was on Hōkūleʻa in December of 2022 in honor of a close member of the PVS ʻOhana. “There are few spaces in which we can still have almost the exact experiences that our ancestors have had.” Tehinamai says, “Hōkūleʻa is a living vessel that directly connects us to this experience. Through her I feel this waʻa connecting all of us across time. Past and present. All at once. She is alive, she breathes, she heals, loves, and gives us hope today.”

For Tehinamai “Moananuiākea is the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves.” She says “I hope to learn and grow as much as I can so that I may share my knowledge and experience when called on to do so” and “as a Mother, I hope to create a legacy of my own that my children can look to in their own time of walking their own path as a Polynesian in this world.”

She misses her loved ones anytime she’s away from them, and while this is her first voyage, she has had a hint of how she will feel when sheʻs back on land. She says she and her family have “spent much of the past year (pre-voyage) working on and connecting with the wa’a,” and when she couldnʻt for a few weeks, “I cannot explain the joy I felt in my heart when I came onboard Hikianalia again. I hugged her multiple times. They feel like very much a part of me today.”

She also knows sheʻll miss being “able to go into a different self. I connect. I observe. I feel. I speak a lot of things within my soul and send it out in all directions. I learn more about my purpose.”