Categorized | Education

A&B Foundation, Matson Navigation support future ocean explorers


University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii received a $7,500 gift from the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation and its subsidiary Matson Navigation Company in support of the navigation and wayfinding skills workshop at Imiloa focused on training crew members of Hawaii’s voyaging community.

The fourth annual crew training workshops, named Imi Naauao, focused its primary activities at Imiloa and moved to oceanside venues for observation and coastal sailing.

From left: Kaimana Barcarse, Aha Punana Leo Honuakai; Russell Chin, Matson Navigation Company; Chad Kalepa Baybayan, associate director & navigator-in-residence, Imiloa; Kaiu Kimura, executive director, Imiloa; Chad Onoihi Paishon, Ohana Waa; Kawika Eskaran, Ohana Waa; Kamoae Walk, Ohana Waa. (Photo courtesy of Imiloa Astronomy Center)

Chad “Kalepa” Baybayan, master wayfinder and Imiloa navigator-in-residence, served as the program’s lead instructor and was joined by senior members from the Ohana Waa voyaging community.

Imi Naauao is a collaborative effort of the statewide voyaging community and provided an opportunity to engage the broader community in the culture, history and legacy of Hawaii’s mariner ancestors.

The donation funded program necessities such as resource books, food and transportation for aspiring navigators and crew.

The seven-day workshop was launched in March 2007 to guide high school and college students in developing navigation and seamanship skills while exploring relevant connections to science and culture.

Teachers, community educators, environmental proponents and active members for the voyaging community came together and mentored the workshop participants.

The Alexander & Baldwin Foundation’s initial gift of $7,500 in 2008 helped establish the much-needed framework for this initiative. Imi Naauao’s success over the past four years continue to inspire and educate future navigators and the community.

“Since the inception of the modern day revival of voyaging in the mid 1970s, the voyaging community has experienced phenomenal growth with new voyaging organizations established across communities in Hawaii and parts of Polynesia,” Baybayan said.

“The growth of voyaging organizations is a direct result of today’s communities demanding programs that engage multi-aged learners in an experience that is challenging, nurturing, impactful, and conducted in a dynamic and relevant environment,” he said. “On a voyaging canoe, where values, language, and critical thinking skills all come together in hands-on way, programs like Imi Naauao are helping to inspire and engage people in science, technology, engineering and math in ways we never imagined.”

For more information on how to support the Imiloa Astronomy Center, call Nico Verissimo at 969-9732 or

The University of Hawaii Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaii System. Our mission is to unite our donors’ passions with the University of Hawaii’s aspirations to benefit the people of Hawaii and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo is a comprehensive university with five degree-granting colleges, six master’s programs and two doctoral programs. UH Hilo strives to integrate culture and science, offer hands-on learning opportunities to its students and use the Island of Hawaii as a natural learning laboratory. Enrollment has doubled since 1980 to nearly 4,000 students coming from all fifty states and more than 40 countries.

Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii is a world-class informal science education center located on the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus. Imiloa is a place of life-long learning where the power of Hawaii’s cultural traditions, its legacy of exploration and the wonders of astronomy come together to provide inspiration and hope for generations. The Center’s interactive exhibits, 3D full dome planetarium, native landscape, and programs and events engage children, families and the local community in the wonders of science and technology found in Hawaii. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. (808) 969-9703 or

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