Inspirational Speaker Series

At the Mālama Honua Summit

Homecoming Tiles-speakers

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Open to Public: Registration Required

Inspirational Speaker Series Registration

Make a contribution to PVS and receive $50 off the $125 registration for the Inspirational Speaker Series at the Mālama Honua Fair & Summit. Look for the discount code on your receipt after making your successful contribution.

The Inspirational Speaker Series will feature local and global courageous and inspiring people who are navigating change for our Island Earth. Scheduling and speaking times of our inspirational speakers will be shared soon. Featured global speakers include:

10 AM Legacy and Future of Voyaging


Nainoa Thompson

President, Polynesian Voyaging Society
Nainoa Thompson is the president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and a master in the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigation. Through his voyaging, he has opened a global, multi-generational dialogue on the importance of sustaining ocean resources and maritime heritage. Thompson is the first person in 600 years to practice Polynesian wayfinding: long-distance open-ocean voyaging on a traditional double-hulled canoe without the aid of modern instruments. Nainoa has dedicated his life to exploring the ocean, advocating for a healthy planet, and ensuring that the ancient marine heritage and culture of Polynesia remain vibrant into the future.

Bruce Blankenfeld
Voyaging Director, Polynesian Voyaging Society

Bruce Blankenfeld became involved with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) in 1977 by volunteering on Hōkūleʻa training sails and with construction and repair of the wa‘a kaulua in drydock. Since then, he has voyaged thousands of miles throughout Polynesia, Micronesia, Vancouver, Alaska, and Japan. Through extensive training and experience, while sailing more than 100,000 nautical miles, he became a master navigator – using traditional, non-instrument methods. He led Hōkūle‘a’s recent extensive renovation, and is currently the Voyaging Director for PVS’s Worldwide Voyage, as well as the Vice Chair of the PVS Board of Directors. Mr. Blankenfeld is a popular and inspiring lecturer on Polynesian navigating, voyaging and wayfinding.


Hekenukumai Ngaiwi Puhipi

Hekenukumai Ngaiwi Puhipi
Pwo Navigator
In 1992 the waka hourua, Te Aurere, built by Dr. Hekenukumai Ngaiwi Puhipi OMNZ, MBE (also known as Hector Busby) sailed to Rarotonga for the South Pacific Arts Festival. Since then Te Aurere has reconnected Aotearoa with the other points of the Polynesian Triangle with voyages to Hawaiʻi (1995) and Rapa Nui (2011-12). First involved with waka in 1973 with the relaunching of the waka taua Ngatokimatawhaorua, the Voyage of Discovery of Hōkūleʻa in 1984-5 started a new chapter in Hekenukumai’s life. Hector has built over 30 waka and led the revival of waka building, sailing and traditional wayfinding in Aotearoa. This service to Māori has been recognized by the award of one of Aotearoa’s highest honors, the Order of Merit of New Zealand. In 2008 Mau Piailug presented him the award of Pwo, as a master navigator.

Neil J. Kahoʻokele Hannahs – Moderator
Founder & CEO, Hoʻokele Strategies LLC

In 2016, Neil J. Kahoʻokele Hannahs concluded four decades of service to Kamehameha Schools where he managed a portfolio of 358,000 acres of agriculture and conservation lands and founded the First Nations Futures Program and Hawaiʻi Investment Ready.  Hannahs subsequently launched Hoʻokele Strategies LLC, a consulting enterprise to engage inspiring wayfinders in building a thriving society. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools with BA and MA degrees from Stanford University, he serves on the State of Hawaiʻi Commission on Water Resources Management and boards of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, MAʻO Organic Farms, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, Aloha Kuamoʻo ʻĀina and Awaiaulu.  


Dieter Paulmann

Dieter Paulmann
Founder and Chairman, Okeanos Foundation for the Sea

Dieter Paulmann is the founder and chairman of the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea. Since 2007, Dieter has been working with navigators and voyaging societies across the Pacific to develop and build a fleet of traditionally designed double hulled sailing canoes outfitted with modern technologies including solar panels and coconut oil-fueled engines. Today, Dieter and Okeanos are actively taking steps to implement a pan-Pacific network of fossil fuel-free sailing canoes to support the region’s culturally-grounded sustainable development while providing much needed inter-island transportation of passengers, food, medicine, supplies and disaster relief.

Pomai Bertelmann
Alakaʻi Waʻa

Pomai was born and raised on the island of Hawai’i. Her family has been part of Hōkūle’a’s legacy since her inception. Her family and the community of Hawai’i are responsible for the building of the double-hulled voyaging canoe Makali’i as well as the Alingano Maisu, the voyaging canoe built to honor Papa Mau and his people. Pomai is a middle school instructor at Kanu o ka ʻĀina Charter School where students are reared through the cultural lense of project-based learning where they solve real world issues as 21st century stewards. The environment they live in is their classroom; their community, their advisors; their intuition, a guide on their course to solutions.


11:30 Advocating for Our Oceans

Eric Co

Eric Co
Senior Program Officer, Marine Conservation for the Harold K.L.Castle Foundation
Eric Co is the Senior Program Officer for Marine Conservation for the Harold K.L.Castle Foundation, the largest private foundation in Hawaiʻi devoted to our ocean. He has spent 20 years in marine management and has served as crew aboard Hōkūleʻa since 2002. He sees living on a canoe as a metaphor for our home—how we care for our place is a direct reflection of how we care for each other. Consequently, inspired by Mālama Honua alongside PVS, Eric has led the Promise to PaeʻĀina collective impact effort, a broad collaboration on ocean management targets to accomplish during the WWV.

Don Walsh
Ocean Elder
Honorary President, Explorers Club; Member, U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE), President, International Maritime Inc.

Don Walsh, Ph.D. is an oceanographer, explorer and retired Navy captain whose career was in submarines. In 1960, Lieutenant Walsh and Jacques Piccard dove to the deepest place in the ocean in the Navy’s Bathyscaph Trieste. After naval service he was a dean and faculty member at the University of Southern California. Since the late 1970’s his company, International Maritime, Inc. has done ocean-related consulting work throughout the world. He is the Honorary President of the Explorers Club. In 2001 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in recognition of his work in undersea engineering.

Don Walsh

Jean-Michel Cousteau

Jean-Michel Cousteau
Ocean Elder
President, Ocean Futures Society
Explorer. Environmentalist. Educator. Filmmaker. For more than five decades, Jean-Michel Cousteau has dedicated himself and his vast experience to communicate to people of all nations and generations his love and concern for our water planet. Since first being “thrown overboard” by his father, Jacques Cousteau, at the age of seven with newly invented SCUBA gear on his back, Jean-Michel has been exploring the ocean realm. Honoring his heritage, Jean-Michel founded Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work. With Jean-Michel’s lifetime of achievements and exemplary public service in ocean conservation through education, awareness, and diplomacy, he was honored with the highest French civilian order of distinction, the Chevalier de la Légion D’Honneur, Knight of the Legion of Honor from the President of France, François Hollande in May 2016.

Sylvia A. Earle
Ocean Elder
President and Chairman, Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance

Sylvia A. Earle is a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, Founder of Mission Blue, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), Ocean Elder, Advisory Council Chair of the Harte Research Institute and former Chief Scientist of NOAA. She has been called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine. She is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for several corporate and nonprofit organizations.

Sylvia Earle

Tommy Remengesau Jr

His Excellency, Mr. Tommy Remengesau Jr.
President of the Republic of Palau
President Tommy Esang Remengesau, Jr., the ninth President of the Republic of Palau, is the first Palauan to be elected President four times. He was first elected President in 2000 and was re-elected in 2004. His election as President again in 2016 is a mark of his vitality and commitment to his promise to the People of Palau to work hard to “preserve the best, improve the rest” for Palau today and for generations to come. During his time in public office, Palau has been recognized for its financial stability and good governance. Remengesau has also amplified Palau’s international leadership and emphasized the importance of regional and global partnerships.

ʻAulani Wilhelm – Moderator
Senior Vice President for Oceans, Conservation International

ʻAulani Wilhelm has spent 20 years in natural resource management, primarily ocean conservation, leading the designation of what has become the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and World Heritage site, the largest protected area on Earth and first of its kind to honor indigenous relationships to the sea. Wilhelm is Senior Vice President for Oceans at Conservation International. Prior, she was Director of Ocean Initiatives for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and a Social Innovation Fellow at Stanford University. She founded Island Water, a social venture to provide clean water and reduce plastic pollution on islands, and Big Ocean, a global network of large-scale marine protected areas. She is Chair of the IUCN-WCPA Large-Scale Marine Protected Area Task Force. She was privileged to be a crew member on Leg 27 of the worldwide voyage.

Aulani Wilhelm

12:50 PM Lunch (Ballroom 313)

1:30 PM A Promise to Our Children

Megan J. Smith

Megan J. Smith
3rd U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Entrepreneur, Engineer
As the 3rd U.S. CTO, Smith and her team focused on how technology policy, data and innovation can advance the future of the nation. Her work included adding senior tech talent to policy tables (TQ) as well as broad capacity-building work with a wide range of partners on both the capabilities of government, and of the American people and our nation overall. As Vice President of Google’s New Business Development team for nine years, Smith’s work included leading acquisitions of Google Earth, Maps, and Picasa; later Smith joined the leadership team for Google’s advanced products team, Google[x]. As CEO of PlanetOut, Smith was a leader of the online LGBT community. Smith also worked as an engineer at General Magic on teams designing early smartphone technologies, and at Apple Japan in Tokyo. Today she serves on the boards of MIT, the MIT Media Lab and Vital Voices. Smith holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. She has recently been elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

The Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth

The Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth is a preacher, teacher, writer and retreat facilitator, and an Episcopal priest. Shortly after her marriage to Marceline van Furth in 2016, she handed in her license to serve in the Diocese of Saldanha Bay because the Anglican church in South Africa does not permit it’s priests to marry same-sex partners. Tutu van Furth is the daughter of anti-apartheid activists Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Leah Tutu. She was the founding executive director of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Ms. Tutu van Furth lives in the Netherlands.


2:30 Closing Keynote

Byron Mallott

Byron Mallott 

Alaska Lt. Governor

Alaska Lt. Governor Byron Mallott was born in Yakutat, Alaska, the ancestral home of his mother’s Tlingit clan. Mallott is clan leader of the Raven Kwaash Kee Kwaan Clan of Yakutat. His wife, Toni, was born and raised in the Athabascan village of Rampart on the Yukon River. They have raised five children and have eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Mallott entered public life as mayor of Yakutat at age 22, and has since held many positions of responsibility in the public, private and non-profit sectors including president of the Alaska Federation of Natives; founding president of the First Alaskans Institute; and executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. In the private sector, Mallott has served as chair, president and CEO of Sealaska Corporation. Mallott and Governor Bill Walker took office on December 1, 2014. Mallott proudly serves on the Polynesian Voyage Society’s Board of Directors and his son, Joey, sailed the 8th and 29th leg of Hōkūleʻa’s journey.

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John De Fries – Emcee
President and Principal Advisor, Native Sun Business Group Inc.

Established in 1993, Native Sun is a consulting and project management company with a core philosophy of respect for the symbiotic relationship that exists between commerce, culture, community and the natural environment.  Utilizing this premise as a business platform has enabled John to advise a wide array of clients and to help restore distressed projects and investments in Hawaiʻi.  John serves on the Boards of Kualoa Ranch, Friends of NELHA (Natural Energy Laboratory), Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Memorial Committee and Friends of the Future.  Later this year, he will return to the Board of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.


Themed Lei Kaʻapuni Honua, A Lei Around the World, Hōkūleʻa Homecoming fundraiser is a celebration of Hōkūleʻa’s return benefiting Polynesian Voyaging Society’s efforts to advance the Mālama Honua mission with activities that enrich our communities and build a sustainable future.

Make a contribution to PVS and receive $50 off the $125 registration for the Inspirational Speaker Series at the Mālama Honua Fair & Summit. Look for the discount code on your receipt after making your successful contribution – mahalo for your support!

2015-Membership-Decal-goldContribute as a Member

Our members have been the mainstay of support to PVS for four decades, allowing us to grow our legacy of wayfinding and voyaging beyond the boundaries of Polynesia. As member, you’re eligible for PVS Store discounts and a thank you gift.

2015-Membership-Decal-brownDonate as a Supporter

Join us as we navigate a course toward sustainability and inspire a global movement to care for our Earth. Your donation helps ensure Hōkūleʻa is safe, seaworthy and beautiful for the thousands of nautical miles that lay ahead.