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Hawai‘i wins best license plate award in landslide

Hawai‘i’s scored a medal for its metal.

The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association this week bestowed the state of Hawai‘i with the 2022 Best Plate Award, recognizing the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s depiction of its iconic voyaging canoe Hokule‘a at O‘ahu’s Kualoa Bay, the site of its inaugural launch in 1975.

The plate sailed far ahead of its competition, beating second-place Modoc Nation by nearly 300 points.

“It is my pleasure to present this award on behalf of our 3,000 members around the world,” said ALPCA President Cyndi McCabe, who traveled to Hawai‘i from Ohio to present the award. “The PVS plate, which quickly emerged as a member favorite in the balloting and was ultimately selected by a landslide, is being honored for its legibility and its stunning, colorful design.”

The plate depicts the Hokule‘a, a double-hulled voyaging canoe owned and operated by PVS, anchored at Kualoa Bay on the windward side of O‘ahu as the sun shines behind the mountainside. Hokule‘a is best known for a 1976 voyage from Hawai‘i to Tahiti, an integral moment for the 1970s Hawaiian renaissance in which crews used traditional Polynesian navigation methods to traverse the Pacific Ocean.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society is a nonprofit organization established in 1973 to research and perpetuate traditional Polynesian voyaging methods. Ann Botticelli, a member of the PVS board of directors, was elated to learn the organization’s plate had come in first place.

“We are so honored to have our design recognized by ALPCA,” she said. “It is especially meaningful to be recognized on the weekend of Hokule‘a’s inaugural launch in 1975. Every time I see this plate on the road, it reinforces how important and treasured the tradition of Polynesian voyaging is to people across Hawai‘i.”

ALPCA said the most common comments about the plate focused on the beauty and striking colors of the plate.

“Although this selection goes against my usual antipathy to busy plates … what stands out among the pictures are the bright red sails of the Hokule‘a, the wa‘a kaulua, a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe,” said Elliot Gertel, one of the voters. “Again, even though it is a miniature billboard, it still beats the general issue Hawaiian plate.”

While the plate was first proposed in 2020 to be limited to electric vehicles as an environmental statement, the stipulation was quickly dropped after it became clear there was high demand among all motorists.

The pair of front and rear PVS plates costs buyers an initial $35.50 and an annual $25 fee, $20 of which goes to PVS each year. PVS Chief Executive Nainoa Thompson — who is currently in Alaska preparing for the organization’s June 15 launch of the Moananuiakea circumnavigation of the Pacific — acknowledged those who supported the creation of the license plate, as well as the people of Hawai‘i who have supported the fundraising program.

“Each purchase is a support to the Polnesian Voyaging Society and our next voyage — which is our most extensive voyage, the one that will take more time and distance than any other voyage in the last 48 years,” he said.

“And we do this because of the belief that living systems on Earth will never be healthy unless the ocean is healthy. This is a campaign to build a movement around the protection of the world’s oceans. Every license plate that someone purchases supports what we call ‘Malama Honua’ — to care for the Earth, the only island we have,” Thompson said.


Jackson Healy, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-4966 or
Source: The Garden Island

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