Crew Profile: Todd Yamashita

PVS Member Since 2011

HOMETOWN: Kalae, Molokai
PRIMARY DUTY: Media & Documentation
OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES: General crew responsibilities – voyager in training
Todd Yamashita is the fourth generation of his family to call Molokai home. Dedicated to his ʻohana and community he strives to balance work, community service and the enjoyment of his surroundings. Todd is a full time communications specialist at the Polynesian Voyaging Society and he is the owner of the Molokai Dispatch, the island's only newspaper.

“As long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the nature and people of Molokai–their unfathomable range of character and unrelenting elegance and grace. I’m indebted to this place and the lifestyle it has afforded my family and me. It is with this admiration that I proudly join others in the effort to mālama honua and community-build for the island of Molokai and beyond.”

Todd is also passionate about waʻa. As an outrigger enthusiast, he paddled for Waikiki Beach Boys, and later for Wakinikona Canoe Club in Seattle in the late 90s. As an outrigger coach, Todd started Montana’s first outrigger canoe club during his time there from 2002 to 2005. After moving home, under the approval of Penny Rawlins, crewmember of Hōkūleʻa’s maiden voyage, and guidance of Hōkūleʻa’s late captain Mel Paoa, Todd first sailed aboard Hōkūleʻa in 2011 crossing the Alenuihaha and Pailolo channels.

“The sail was life-changing. Watching the moon rise over Alenuihaha while Hōkūleʻa surfed and danced between swells shifted something within me. I didn’t exactly know how, but I knew then that my life from that point would be different.”

In 2014, Todd was hired to assist with communications at the Polynesian Voyaging Society in support of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. There, he helps to steward the website, and provides support in the areas of graphic design, marketing and media.

“This is the most meaning job I’ve ever had – I am humbled and forever grateful to PVS staff, leadership and volunteers for allowing me to be a part of this amazing organization and ʻohana.”

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