Attention Internet Explorer User

Your web browser has been identified as Internet Explorer .

In the coming months this site is going to be updated to improve security, accessibility and mobile experience. Older versions of Internet Explorer do not provide the functionality required for these changes and as such your browser will no longer be supported as of September 2020. If you require continued access to this site then you will need to install a different browser such as Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome.

Pacific Islander Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Browse Lists:

Thompson, Nainoa (1953–?)

by Ben Finney

In 1980 Nainoa Thompson (1953–) became the first Hawaiian in centuries to navigate a canoe to another archipelago when he guided the reconstructed voyaging canoe Höküleÿa from Hawai'i to Tahiti and back by non-instrument, quasi-traditional methods. Mau Piailug, the master navigator from Micronesia, trained him for that voyage, and Nainoa in turn has become the master navigator and acknowledged leader of the renaissance in Polynesian voyaging. In addition to guiding Höküleÿa on subsequent voyages through Polynesia in 1985–87, 1992 and 1995, Nainoa has counselled groups from throughout the region in their own projects to reconstruct and sail voyaging canoes, and has trained a new generation of Polynesian navigators.

Original Publication

  • The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia, edited by Brij V. Lal and Kate Fortune, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2000, p 81

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Ben Finney, 'Thompson, Nainoa (1953–?)', Pacific Islander Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 September 2020.

© Copyright Pacific Islander Biography, 2012