When you are an indigenous person, your answers are usually attached to some sort of experience, or doing something that will benefit your ʻohana, homes, or people.
“There is a new wave in Hawaiʻi. It’s moving across these islands, it’s moving across this land, and it’s moving across our society. It is a whole new generation of young people. The most powerful side of the voyage is the young people, and we have this tiny little Hawaiian girl by the name of Haunani Kane,” said master navigator Nainoa Thompson.
“I’m from Kailua, Oʻahu. I live in Olomana, so a little neighborhood at the foot of Olomana mountain. First getting into helping out with Hōkūle’a, I really enjoyed being on the canoe. I liked coming down to help and everything, but family and surfing was where I really wanted to be. So I think that point where I was helping out with the canoe and helping out with this stuff is more important than surfing is when I really made the transition to, I think, being more helpful,” said Haunani Kane.
This connection with the canoes has been amplified since Haunani began training as an apprentice navigator for Hōkūleʻa.
“I’m invested, I’m committed to young people today because that is going to define what tomorrow is going to look like,” said Nainoa.
“They are investing a lot of time and knowledge and their expertise in us. So it’s that kuleana to know that even if this voyage is over, you’re still going to continue to try to learn and to share that with younger people,” said Haunani.
Aside from her navigational training, Haunani is helping to lead science projects conducted throughout the Worldwide Voyage that will benefit multiple communities.
“I always get a little nervous when I talk about science, especially to communities like our own, like among the Hawaiian communities and among the indigenous communities, because I think a lot of times science is given a bad rap just because it’s communicated in a in a way that it almost seems like a foreign language and people maybe, are put off by that. But what we try to do with each of these projects is we try to break it down to the simplest concepts and just talk about these projects to people in basic terms and try to relate it to their culture and to why it’s important.
“When you are an indigenous person, your answers are usually attached to some sort of experience. or doing something that will benefit their ʻohana or their homes or their people. I think when you have a perspective that I’m doing this to understand my home, or I’m doing this to help my family, I think it’s just a little different,” said Haunani.
“Young people like Haunani, they have strength, they have vision, they have beliefs in their values, and they’re going to go. All I want to do is be somewhere near the wave. and to help push that wave along in any tiny little way that I can,” said Nainoa.