Hawai'i conservation alliance

24th Annual Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference (HCC)

July 18-20, 2017

Hawaiʻi Convention Center

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi

The Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference allows a diverse group of scientists, policymakers, conservation practitioners, educators, students and community members from Hawaiʻi and the Pacific to converge and discuss conservation. It’s a time to connect, share and inspire, all with the common goal of caring for our natural resources.

He Waʻa, He Moku – Mālama Honua: Caring for Our Island Earth

“He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa”, translates simply as “the canoe is an island, and the island is a canoe." This year's theme highlights the need to treat the biocultural resources of our island home, and island earth, as carefully as we would the limited water and food carried on a waʻa. In Hawaiʻi, like on a voyaging canoe, we must work together to ensure the sustainability of our communities, our islands, our archipelago, and our planet. Effective stewardship will require cultural knowledge as well as the best available science and technology, traditional and innovative management tools, and collaboration between all sectors.

The concept of Mālama Honua, caring for our earth, is being carried across the globe by the Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia, sailing waʻa of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.  At home, we honor their work by striving to leave a legacy of sustainability and reversed decline of natural resources.  In 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress was held in Honolulu, putting our islands on the global stage and compelling us to think of our impact around the world. As the waʻa return home in 2017,  we reflect on our global ties, our legacy for the future, and the work we must do to keep on course. 

Conference highlights will include presentations from impactful speakers, opportunities to learn about different technologies, methods, and approaches to conservation, field activities, and new and strengthened partnerships among Hawaii’s conservation community.

Tuesday, July 18th - Opening Keynote


Nainoa Thompson

President, Polynesian Voyaging Society

Nainoa Thompson is the President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and an Ocean Elder. Thompson is the first person in 600 years to practice Polynesian wayfinding: long-distance open-ocean voyaging on a traditional double-hulled canoe without the aid of modern instruments. Through his voyaging, he has opened a global, multi-generational dialogue on the importance of sustaining ocean resources and maritime heritage. Nainoa has dedicated his life to exploring the ocean, maintaining the health of the planet and ensuring that the ancient marine heritage and culture of Polynesia remain vibrant into the future.

Wednesday, July 19th - Opening Keynote


Ruud Kleinpaste

Born in Indonesia, then raised and educated in the Netherlands, Ruud Kleinpaste migrated to New Zealand in 1978 with an MSc (Hons) in silvicuture, animal ecology and conservation from Wageningen University. Entomology was always an important hobby that later became part of his main work activities and ultimately, his media persona: the Bugman. Ruud studied kiwi (New Zealand’s iconic bird) in Waitangi forest (in the far north of the country) and worked as scientist (entomology) with the Ministry of Agriculture (now Ministry for Primary Industries) for 14 years, before tackling the world of media, communication and consultancy on his own.

Thursday, July 20th - Opening Plenary


Panel: Hawaiʻi Commitments, Inspiring Conservation at Home and Around the World

Panelists: The Honorable David Ige, Chipper Wichman, Denise Antolini, Ulalia Woodside

Moderator: ʻAulani Wilhelm


In 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) adopted the Hawaiʻi Commitments. Compiled by IUCN's over 1300 members from 160 countries at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, the Hawaiʻi Commitments set the direction for global conservation priorities over the next four years. This panel will examine the Commitments, Hawaiʻi's role in implementing them, and how Hawaiʻi can continue to grow as a global leader in conservation. Panelists will explore ways we can collectively address environmental challenges that threaten our biocultural resources as well as opportunities to foster a strong culture of conservation locally and around the world.