Bonnie Kahapea-Tanner

Bonnie Kahapea-Tanner

Captain & Project Director

Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy & Mana Maoli

Honolulu, HI USA

You have to know where 'home' is in order to know where you're going and how to get back.


By Roadtrip Nation

Bonnie Kahapea-Tanner


My road in life has been direct.
Grew up loving the water; in high school, she really developed her interest in paddling and kayaking.
Went to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and was introduced to the art of traditional Polynesian navigation.
While she was in Hilo, she watched the Hōkūleʻa—a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe—prepare for a voyage to Tahiti.
She joined the crew that took legendary Polynesian navigator "Papa" Mau Piailug back to his home in Micronesia.
She was also interested in education, and earned her master’s degree in transformative learning and change.
Says that even as she was going through that master’s program, she was always trying to “stay close to the canoe.”
Now teaches traditional voyaging and maritime skills at the Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy.
Says her job blends her interests in sailing, traditional navigation, Hawaiian culture, and teaching people.
Keep following my journey


Captain & Project Director

I inspire others to reach their potential and educate students about Hawaiian culture and traditions.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Non-Profit Organizations
Teaching / Mentoring

Day to Day

While having a cup of tea, walk down to the water, observe whats happening in the environment--where is the sun, whats the wind like, whats the tide, etc. As the staff and crew arrive, prepare for the school group that is coming today. As we all prepare and get ready for the day, everyone gets assigned their responsibilities. After the school group leaves, we clean up, get back to paperwork and emails, maybe have lunch together and talk about the day and get ready for the next day.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for middle school students

Follow your dreams and passions. Work hard, show up early and stay late!

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I don't know who I am. "

Interviewed By

Setting Course

Setting Course

Science, tech, engineering, arts, and math careers in Hawaii