Navigator Nainoa Thompson talks about the Southern Cross

Tonight is the best time to see the navigational constellation Hanaiakamalama, also known as the Southern Cross. The Southern Cross has guided voyagers from ancient times to the Hawaiian Islands on their journeys from Tahiti. Enjoy this video in which navigator Nainoa Thompson talks about studying the stars and learning to find the Southern Cross. You can start to see the Southern Cross from nautical twilight at about 8 p.m. this evening. It will be upright off South Point, Hawaiʻi Island at 8:35 p.m., off Maunalua Bay on Oʻahu’s south shore at 8:43 p.m. and off Nawiliwili, Kauai at 8:50 p.m.

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Remembering Byron Mallott * April 6, 1943 – May 8, 2020

          We have suffered a considerable loss with the recent passing of PVS Board Member Byron Mallott.  A native Alaskan and former Lt. Governor of the State of Alaska, Byron was an extraordinary leader, visionary and longtime friend to PVS. He helped to build the special, long standing relationship between Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians.  This special kinship began more than 30 years ago when Byron was CEO of Sealaska.  When canoe builders began plans for Hawaiʻiloa using native materials, a nine-month search of Hawai’i’s forests found no koa trees large enough and healthy enough to build the hulls.  But there was a second source — giant gifts that came to Hawai’i by wind and wave – driftwood logs from the Pacific Northwest.  A phone call was made between two elders – Herb Kawainui Kane and Native Alaskan Judson Brown, who told Herb he needs to call this man and ask him for the trees.  Herb called Byron and asked to purchase two trees from the Alaskan forest.  Byron said no, this will be a gift from us to you, to build your voyaging canoe to carry your traditions and your culture and give pride to your children.  And so two majestic Sitka Spruce trees, children of their forest, were felled and gifted to Hawai’i, and Byron built a bridge and a friendship between two native cultures that will continue to be a large part of his immeasurable legacy.

          Byron explained, ”Both the reality and the symbolism of the [Hawai’iloa] project breathe hope and inspiration into all peoples seeking to maintain their traditions, heritage and culture in a society that does not place a high priority on such things except when they may touch a nerve or help nurture shared values through an expression of such vision, initiative and sheer innate beauty that all can feel ennobled by it….You do it for the Hawaiian people, but it reaches far beyond. In your canoe you carry all of us who share your vision and aspiration for a people to live and prosper with their future firmly built on the knowledge of their heritage and tradition.”

          “It’s impossible to measure Byron’s impact, but over the years he would constantly send these gifts from Alaska that would grow the Hawai‘i-Alaska friendship and our shared commitment to uplifting ancestral knowledge and nature,” said PVS president Nainoa Thompson.  “His beliefs were deeply rooted in who he is as a native and he was always working courageously and fiercely to make the world a better place for future generations.” 

Our aloha and love go out to the Mallott ‘Ohana.

(All photos are courtesy of Sealaska and Kamehameha Schools)


In memory of Byron, we share these links to past stories and videos:

Byron Mallot’s inspirational talk at the Mālama Honua Summit, June 2017

The building of Hawaiʻiloa

Returning to the Koa Forest after 30 Years

Video Highlights from 2019 Alaska-Hawaiʻi Conference “Hoʻoilina: Empowering our Traditions of Exploration” 

Hōkūle’a Mo’olelo: Joey Mallott (son of Byron)

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44th Anniversary of Hōkūlea’s Maiden Voyage to Tahiti

May 1, 2020 is the 44th Anniversary ofʻdeparture for Hōkūleʻa’s maiden voyage to Tahiti from Honolua Bay, Maui.  That day in 1976 was the first time in 600 years that a Polynesian voyaging canoe sailed deep sea.  It would take them 34 days to reach Tahiti.  Crewmember Billy Richards who was part of that first crew reflects on that historic day of departure 44 years ago. 


GivingTuesdayNow (May 5th) is a global day of giving and unity. It is a worldwide movement harnessing the power of people and communities.

On this GivngTuesdayNow we call on our supporters to help us sustain the magic of Hōkūle’a. You can help us sail through these uncertain times, emerging stronger and healthier in mind, body, and community.

We humbly ask that you support our voyaging canoes, crewmembers, and dedicated staff in continuing the mission of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Mahalo nui loa no kou kōkua!

You can donate now @

Star Lesson featuring Nainoa Thompson

Enjoy this video activity for teachers, students, parents and people of all ages. Imagine if you could use the stars in the sky to actually sail 2,400 nautical miles across open ocean from Hawaii to find an island called Tahiti, which is smaller than Maui, and then turn around and come back.

In honor of Earth Day and this season of voyaging when the stars are aligned perfectly, traditional wayfinder Nainoa Thompson shares a lesson in celestial navigation that you can do in your own backyard.

Star Lesson Featuring Nainoa Thompson

Earth Day Message from Nainoa Thompson

On this 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, navigator Nainoa Thompson shares an update on PVS, a message on the importance of caring for the earth and a mahalo to our community for coming together during this time of uncertainty.

“I want to thank you for the way you treat each other, always with kindness and respect, and for bringing the best out of each one of us when we’re united. Because we’re going to need it. In the upcoming months and years, we’re going to need that unity as a message to and a symbol of what powerful good can come out of communities when they’re unified around the right sail plan.”
“It (earth) carries us and our future and the lives of our children for tomorrow into a future that’s going to be good enough as long as we take care of it. One simple rule with nature: what we do to the earth, we’re doing to ourselves.”

Ocean Elders’ Town Hall with Nainoa Thompson – Register Now

This Friday (April 24th) at noon HSTjoin PVS president and pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson along with navigators Lehua Kamalu and Austin Kino for a live Town Hall hosted by Ocean Elders.

Register now! 

The conversation will start with the reawakening of voyaging, and then go onto how this ancient practice has become a platform for understanding how to look at our world and the importance of being stewards of the planet for future generations.  
The event will include live questions via Q & A text and Voice Call-In from the attendees through Zoom.