Bid Aloha to PVS Founder Ben Finney

The family of Ben Finney, along with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), invites friends, colleagues and the public to celebrate his life. Finney co-founded PVS to build the Hōkūle‘a and show how the first people reached Hawaii and other islands.

“Ben provided the vision and mission and the leadership to set the foundation for all that we would do in voyaging since 1976. We owe so much to him. Hawai‘i, the Pacific and the world is indebted to the work of Ben Finney,” said Nainoa Thompson, the president of PVS.

Please join us on the morning of Saturday, March 3rd to mark his life before his family takes him on a final sail aboard Hōkūle‘a.

WHAT: Celebration of Ben Finney’s Life

WHEN: Saturday, March 3, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

WHERE: Marine Education Training Center (METC) at Sand Island

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About Ben Finney:

An anthropologist and pioneer in the reconstruction and sailing of Polynesian voyaging canoes, Finney first began dreaming about building a canoe and sailing it to Tahiti while studying at the University of Hawai‘i in 1958. In the mid-1960s, he built Nalehia, a replica of a Hawaiian double canoe that provided the basic information on sailing performance that went into planning Hōkūle‘a’s initial voyage to Tahiti. Finney co-founded PVS in 1973 with Herb Kawainui Kane and Tommy Holmes and served as its first president. Together with countless volunteers, they built Hōkūle‘a, the first Polynesian voyaging canoe in 600 years and launched her in 1975.

Ben visits with Hōkūlea during drydock in 2008 – this is the same bunk he used during the original Tahiti voyage in 1976.

“Ben provided the vision and mission and the leadership to set the foundation for all that we would do in voyaging since 1976. We owe so much to him. Hawai‘i, the Pacific and the world is indebted to the work of Ben Finney,” said Nainoa Thompson, the president of PVS and scheduled speaker at the celebration.

Finney set out to show that Hawaiians could intentionally sail long-distances without modern instruments. He sailed on Hōkūle‘a’s first voyage to Tahiti in 1976, and chronicled that voyage in his book Hokule’a: The Way to Tahiti. He also sailed on the 1985 voyage to Aotearoa, the 1992 voyage to Rarotonga, and also covered the 1995 voyage from the Marquesas to Hawai‘i from Hōkūle‘a’s escort vessel.

During his career, Finney held faculty appointments at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Australian National University, the University of French Polynesia, and the International Space University. From 1970 through 2000 he was a professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, where his courses included Human Adaptation to the Sea and Human Adaptation to Living in Space. From 1994 through 2003 he was the co-chair of the department of Space and Society at the International Space University. He is the author of over eight books and scores of articles on the history of voyaging and wayfaring in the Pacific, as well as studies comparing the exploration of ocean space to outer space.



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