HI Wins Best License Plate

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Photo courtesy of Gov. Josh Green.

The State of Hawaii was awarded nationally for its license plate depicting the iconic voyaging canoe Hokule’a, which was designed by Molokai’s Todd Yamashita for the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The award came from the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization devoted to researching, collecting and promoting license plates. The win represented the 58th plate to be recognized by ALPCA, and the first time Hawaii has earned the “best plate” honor. 

The award was presented to Gov. Josh Green last week, and Yamashita also received a plaque. 

“We were proud to congratulate plate designer Todd Yamashita from Molokai with the award today, which is the first time Hawaii has won this award!” wrote Green on his Facebook page. “His design not only is aesthetically pleasing but also honors the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the aloha it shares with the world.”

PVS Chief Executive Nainoa Thompson, who is in Alaska preparing launch of the Moananuiakea circumnavigation of the Pacific, delivered mahalo remarks via video.

“Each purchase is a support to the Polynesian Voyaging Society and our next voyage, which is our most extensive voyage, the one that will take more time and distance that any other voyage in the last 48 years. 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,” Thompson said. “Every license plate that someone purchases supports what we call ‘Malama Honua’ — to care for the Earth, the only island we have.” 

ALPCA President Cyndi McCabe, who traveled to Hawaii from Ohio to present the award, said the design, which depicts Hokule‘a at anchor at Kualoa Bay, the site of its inaugural launch in 1975.

 “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,” said McCabe. 

The cost of a pair of plates is $35.50 initially and $25 for renewals, of which $20 per year goes to PVS.  The plates went on sale in February, 2022. More than half of the 23,632 pairs of plates produced have already been distributed throughout Hawaii, raising $244,540 to support PVS’ mission.

“This about visibility for the art of voyaging and non-instrument navigation, a reminder that Hawaii has a deep indigenous history that’s tied to people and place,” said Yamashita. “It about those who dare to live their culture and grow tradition. This is for Molokai, from which many good things come including many talented Hokulea voyagers. Most of all this is for our children, my two sons included, and the generations to come. So that this beautiful canoe, and its Hawaiian legacy will continue to carry inspiration and hope for her people and planet.”

For more information on how to get one of the plates for your vehicle, visit hokulea.com/pvs-specialty-license-plates/.


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