Former President Bill Clinton was in the islands this weekend.
He spent part of Sunday afternoon with Hawaii’s legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea, and had a lot of questions.
Clinton’s press secretary, Angel Ureña, shared a photo of the former president posing with former governor John Waihee, Hokulea crew members, and Polynesian Voyaging Society staff.
“It was a real honor and pleasure to have him,” said Polynesian Voyaging Society president, Hokulea captain, and master navigator Nainoa Thompson. “It’s the first time I met him. (He’s) very smart, intelligent, asked good questions, very curious.”
Hokulea is in dry dock at its home port, Honolulu Community College’s Marine Education Training Center at Sand Island, as preparations are currently underway for her statewide sail starting next month.
“The meeting was brief and it wasn’t. It was probably an hour and a half. We did a lot of walking and talking,” Thompson said. “One of the focuses was just how did they discover Polynesia, and how did they navigate and how did they voyage and what was it like for the first peoples.”
They watched some of KHON2’s coverage of Hokulea’s triumphant homecoming last month from a three-year journey around the world.
Clinton asked about the voyage, and they talked about the state of the earth.
“We found common ground in that area of malama honua (care for the earth),” Thompson said. “He has many initiatives he’s working on, many the same as what we’re working on here in Hawaii, issues of climate change, protection of wildlife, natural environment and resources.”
Could this meeting have any lasting impact? The younger generation holds the key.
“It was good to have our young people next to him, because I think that’s what the relationship is,” Thompson said. “The future is really with them, and his great work across the planet and the hope that something will come of this initial kind of simple visit.”
We’re told Clinton came to Hawaii for a private event on Saturday.
His wife, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, did not make this trip.