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The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) is a non-profit research and educational corporation based in Honolulumarker, Hawai imarker. PVS was established to research and perpetuate traditional Polynesian voyaging methods. Using replicas of traditional double-hulled canoes, PVS undertakes voyages throughout Polynesia navigating without modern instruments.


The society was founded in 1973 by nautical anthropologist Ben Finney, Hawaiian artist Herb Kawainui Kane, and sailor Charles Tommy Holmes. The three wanted to show that ancient Polynesians could have purposely settled the Polynesian Triangle using non-instrument navigation. The first PVS project was to build a replica of a double-hulled voyaging canoe.

Hokule a

On March 8, 1975, the first voyaging canoe to be built in the Hawaiian Islands in over 600 years was launched with captain Kawika Kapahulehua and crew. Named the Hōkūleʻa, it left Hawai i on May 1, 1976 for Tahitimarker in an attempt to retrace the ancient voyaging route. Micronesian navigator Mau Piailug, using no instruments, successfully navigated the canoe to Tahiti, arriving there on June 3, 1976.

After an attempted voyage to Tahitimarker in 1978 was aborted when the Hokule a capsized near Lāna imarker and crew member Eddie Aikau was lost at sea, Piailug trained Nainoa Thompson in the ancient navigation methods. Two years later in 1980, Thompson replicated the successful 1976 voyage to Tahiti, becoming the first modern Hawaiian to master the art of Micronesian navigation.

Since that voyage, the Hokule a and her sister canoe the Hawai iloa have undertaken voyages to other islands in Polynesia, including Samoamarker, Tongamarker, and New Zealandmarker.

Alingano Maisu

On January 23, 2007 the Hokule a and the Alingano Maisu set sail on a voyage to Micronesia and Japanmarker. In March, 2007 the canoes arrived at Piailug's home island of Satawal where five native Hawaiians and sixteen others were inducted into Pwo as master navigators. The event was the first Pwo ceremony on Satawal in 50 years and the Alingano Maisu was presented to Piailug as a gift for his contribution in reviving wayfinding navigation.


The Times Online reports that the US Congress has earmarked $238,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society.


  • Ben R. Finney; Sailing in the Wake of the Ancestors: Reviving Polynesian Voyaging (Bishop Museum Press, 2004 ISBN 1-58178-025-7)
  • Ben R. Finney; Voyage of Rediscovery: A Cultural Odyssey Through Polynesia (University of California Press, 1994 ISBN 0-520-08002-5)
  • Will Kyselka; An Ocean in Mind (University of Hawaii Press, 1987 ISBN 0-8248-1112-7)
  • David Lewis; We, the Navigators: The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific (University of Hawaii Press; 1994 ISBN 0-8248-1582-3)

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