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Gov. David Ige OKs commemorative license plates for the Polynesian Voyaging Society

                                A sample of a special license plates featuring the Hokule‘a.


    A sample of a special license plates featuring the Hokule‘a.

Special license plates featuring the Hokule‘a will be hitting the road this summer.

Gov. David Ige today signed legislation authorizing the issuance of commemorative license plates supporting the Polynesian Voyaging Society and its mission of promoting Malama Honua, or caring for the Island Earth.

“The Worldwide Voyage helped all of us to understand the reality of climate change, and why it makes sense for Hawaii to lead the way in creating bold goals such as for clean energy,” said Ige in a news release. “We should all be very proud that Hokule‘a has become a global symbol of how traditional indigenous practice can ignite a common kuleana to protect and care for Island Earth.”

The State Legislature unanimously approved the bill, which with the governor’s signature today became Act 11, effective July 1.

The first plates are expected to be available for $25 in late August to owners of Hawaii registered vehicles.

The preliminary design of the PVS license plate depicts the Hokule‘a, the traditional, double-hulled canoe, at anchor at Kualoa, which is historically significant as the site of its first launch on March 8,1975, symbolic of a renaissance of Hawaiian culture.

The Hokule‘a became famous around the globe after departing Oahu under PVS President and Pwo Navigator Nainoa Thompson’s leadership in May 2014 for its six-year Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. Over those years, its crews visited more than 150 ports in 18 nations, bringing awareness to the global impacts of climate change.

After a pause due to the pandemic, PVS this summer begins “crew-training sails” to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and French Polynesia in preparation for its next voyage — the Moananuiakea Circumnavigation of the Pacific expected to launch May 1, 2022.

Thompson said the passage of the law is a strong demonstration of support for the nonprofit’s mission, and for “the vision of a planetary renaissance that the state of Hawaii is leading,”

“All of us at PVS are grateful to the Hawaii State Legislature and the Governor for providing us the opportunity to generate revenue to voyage on behalf of Island Earth,” he said.

Thompson said 300 crew members are training to go on the 42,000-mile, 42-month Moananuiakea, the group’s longest voyage ever.

“Our focus is on protection of the worldʻs oceans because there is no environmental success if we denigrate the oceans,” said Thompson at today’s signing ceremony. “Blue planet. The only one we have. And the oceans define everything.”

The voyage is high-risk, he said, but the higher risk is not to go, and “to stay home and do nothing when we see the world in such trauma.”

“The license plate to me is the symbol of a belief — that our crew needs to know — that Hawaii is with them,” he said. “And itʻs also the recognition that the funding thatʻs needed will allow the mission to be enabled.”

For information on how to order one, email PVS at

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