LIVESTREAM: Worldwide Voyagers to Join President for Astronomy Night

Hōkūleʻa crewmembers Jenna Ishii and Kaʻiu Kimura will be joining President Obama at the second-ever White House Astronomy Night in Washington D.C. Starting at 1:35 p.m. HST today, viewers will be able to follow the event here on this post, or directly from White House website.

President Obama will be highlighting the importance of inspiring more girls and boys with the wonder of science and space. The event will bring together students, teachers, astronomers, engineers, scientists, and space enthusiasts for an evening of stargazing – a cherished hands-on learning activity, and one that will spark the imagination of aspiring space explorers, young and old.

Crewmembers from the Polynesian Voyaging Society, including Kaʻiulani Kimura, executive director at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, will be giving an overview of the Hawaiian Star Compass and sharing about Polynesian wayfinding with middle and high school students from around the nation. Also being shared is a special video from master navigator Nainoa Thompson recorded from the deck of Hōkūleʻa specifically for the youth at this event.

Aloha, my name is Nainoa Thompson, I am the captain and the navigator onboard Hawaiʻi’s traditional voyaging canoe called Hōkūleʻa. I’m sitting on the bow of the canoe in a place called Maputo, in the country of Mozambique in Africa. We’ve been sailing for about 17 months now on a voyage around the world to promote protection of the planet and to promote peace. We are half way around the world from Hawaiʻi, and we have traveled about 20,000 nautical miles.

For most of the voyage, we’ve been navigating with traditional means that was brought down from my ancestors from the Pacific, and I want to thank everyone from Astronomy Night at the White House for allowing us to be part of your special event.

Also, I wanted to thank the 300 hundred students for coming and participating in this learning experience. We have one of our young navigators, her name is Jenna Ishii, there with you tonight that will explain much more about our Worldwide Voyage and the techniques of navigation. Thanks again so much and aloha!

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Thompson and other navigators are guiding the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage using only the stars, sun, moon and other natural elements to find their way. This ancient practice of navigating and voyaging was recovered and reclaimed by the Polynesian Voyaging Society for Hawaiʻi, where this masterful art had been absent for 600 years. Polynesian wayfinding today bridges the traditional technology of our ancestors with scientific discovery and environmental awareness our youth need in order to imagine and create a positive future for all of Island Earth including its land, oceans and people.

Please help keep us sailing for future generations. All contributions make a difference for our voyage. Mahalo nui loa!

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