Sustainable Workforce Development Network

Building Sustainable Career Pathways

Navigating by the Stars: The Polynesian Voyaging Society
Nainoa Thompson has devoted his life to reviving ancient Hawaiian cultural traditions that were nearly lost to history. Whether he is working on cultural preservation, environmental advocacy, or championing sustainability education for Hawaiian youth, he credits everything he’s achieved to the guidance of generous teachers. “I owe everything I’ve done to the great teachers I’ve been fortunate to learn from in my journey of life.” In 1976 Nainoa saw the Hōkūleʻa—a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe with no Western implements—set sail from Hawaii en route to Tahiti for the first time in 600 years. Inspired by the Hawaiian cultural renaissance, he became a navigator for the Polynesian Voyage Society. Over a period of 45 years, his voyages have totaled more than 250,000 nautical miles—the equivalent of circumnavigating the earth 20 times!