Navigating Through Generations

Navigating Through Generations

“I’m like the luckiest person on planet earth that has had, the Herb Kānes and the Mau Pialug and the Eddie Aikaus, and the greatest navigator that I know in my life is my father. My job is to do just a fraction of what they did for me for the next generation. You nurture the future in supporting the growth of young people. And I take the gifts of training and navigation, and I create the opportunity for someone to take it. Take it from me, “said pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson.

“It’s exciting. But at the same time I feel it’s a lot of pressure,” remarked apprentice navigator Haunani Kane.

One of the selected navigators in training is Haunani Kane, who is also currently pursuing a graduate degree in geology and geophysics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Månoa.

“Young people like Haunani, they have strength, they vision, they have belief, they have values. And they’re going to go,” said Thompson.

“When we’re navigating, we’re going to aligning things like the stars, the swells, on these marks or these houses. So we can get an idea of what direction we’re heading,” described Kane.

Looking into the near future, Thompson trusted in more success yet to come. “Next year she [Haunani] will graduate with her masters, and the next year she’ll pull Tahiti out of the sea. So she becomes rare today. But if so society helps young people to give them the opportunities to find their way, she’ll be commonplace tomorrow.”

Along with her applied graduate studies, Haunani learned a traditional skill and perspective of navigation while sailing.

“Uncle Bruce is so amazing. He does a lot of his navigation by just feeling. And what he taught me was when you start to pick up speed and then lose it, you’re starting to point too high. And just listening to the sails, trying to feel the direction of the swells and just the way the canoe was moving is trying to navigate.”

The proverb, he waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa speaks to the similarities between the canoe and land. Values and lessons on the canoe are important just as much on land. As a result, experiences on waʻa become life lessons for crewmembers even after sailing on the waʻa.
According to Thompson, “It teaches perseverance. It teaches young people to be willing to take risks. It teaches young people to train and prepare, to find their destination.”

“I’ve met some of my closest friends here and a lot of people I look up to.So I hope when I have a family, my kids can be a part of this as well,” remarked Kane.

They are going to go on this worldwide voyage…it’s going to change them; and they will change us.

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