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Portrait by Herb Kawainui Kane.
Do Thor Heyerdahl's theories of Polynesian origin have any merit? What are the doldrums? Who were the early Polynesian people? What is it like to sail on the recreated voyaging canoe, Hokule'a?
In the following RealAudio interviews, expert consultants for "Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey" address some of the more intriguing aspects of Polynesian life, origin and wayfinding. You will need to download RealPlayer in order to listen to the interviews.
Ben Finney is a professor of anthropology at the University of Hawaii. He is one of the co-founders of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and author of many books and articles on the subject of Pacific Island voyaging and settlement.
Thor Heyerdahl is a world-renowned explorer and archaeologist. He was born in 1914 in Larvik, Norway. Originally a zoologist, he is most renowned for his theories on the origins of the Polynesian race and culture.
Professor Geoffrey Irwin studies Oceanic and New Zealand archaeology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of The Prehistoric Exploration and Colonization of the Pacific.
Artist and author Herb Kawainui Kane.
Herb Kawainui Kane
Herb Kawainui Kane, one of the co-founders of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and designer of the canoe Hokule'a, is an artist-historian and author with special interest in Hawai'i and the South Pacific. He resides in rural South Kona on the island of Hawaii.
A lecturer at the Bishop Museum Planetarium for 25 years, Will Kyselka spent
hundreds of hours helping Nainoa Thompson use stars in the planetarium dome to find islands in the sea. He is the author the book North Star to Southern Cross, which describes Thompson's learning process and unique system of navigation.
After returning to Hawai'i from college on the mainland, Pi'ikea Miller helped build the canoe Hawai'iloa. Invited by Nainoa Thompson to train
as an apprentice wayfinder, Pi'ikea also assisted Hokule'a
navigator Chad Babayan on the 2,000-mile voyage from the Marquesas Islands
A professor of social anthropology and Maori studies at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, Professor Dame Anne Salmond won the Ernest Scott Prize for her book Between Worlds: Early Exchanges Between Maori and European 1773-1815.
Over the last 15 years, Nainoa Thompson, navigator for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, has inspired and led a revival of traditional voyaging arts in Hawai'i and Polynesian arts. In 1980, Thompson became the first Hawai'ian and the first Polynesian to practice the art of wayfinding on long distance ocean voyages since voyaging ended in Polynesia in the 14th century.