Austin Kino is a native Hawaiian with one foot in the past and the other in the future. Aware that some of Hawai’i’s culture and traditions are at risk of being lost forever, he has endeavored to bridge the gap between old and new, playing the part of both student and storyteller.
It all started when he was invited to become part of the crew on the Hōkūleʻa in 2006, an iconic voyaging canoe whose journeys have revived the 2000 year old legacy of exploration, courage, and ingenuity that brought the first Polynesians to Hawai’i. Austin was chosen as one of a small group of young students — the Kapu Na Keiki(meaning Keep the Children Sacred) — who would learn the ancient skill of celestial navigation. His love of the ocean and life spent surfing and paddling made him the perfect fit.
Over the next 10 years, Austin’s life was spent in large part as crew member and apprentice navigator on the Hōkūleʻa. All the while, he never forgot a thought passed on to him by Master Navigator, Nainoa Thompson, that, “If you don’t have a vision for your future, someone else is going to impress their vision on you.” So, with a newfound knowledge and understanding of the ocean and Hawai’i’s navigational history, Austin pursued his own vision of sharing the past with the current generation. He founded Holokino — a traditional Hawaiian canoe adventure tour on O‘ahu’s south shore — where locals and tourists alike can experience first hand the ingenuity of Polynesian wave finding. His hope is that Hawai’i will continue to be known for its legacy of great ocean explorers.
It seems to be working. Austin was recently named as one of the 20 people who will positively impact Hawai’i for the next 20 years. We’re guessing his impact will go way beyond that!