Herb Kawainui Kane
Herb Kawainui Kane (pronounced KAH-ney) was an artist-historian and author with special interest in Hawai‘i and the South Pacific. Born in 1928, he was raised in Hawai‘i (Waipio Valley and Hilo) and Wisconsin. Kane earned a masters degree in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He later resided in rural south Kona on the island of Hawai‘i.
Kane’s career experience included advertising art and publishing art, painting, architectural design, writing, and sculpture. Among his clients were private collectors, the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the National Park Service, the National Geographic Society, and major publishers of books and periodicals. His art for the U.S. Postal Service has appeared on stamps honoring the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. Kane’s most recent book is Ancient Hawai‘i (1998). Research on Polynesian canoes and voyaging led to Kane’s participation as general designer, builder, and first captain of the sailing canoe, Hokule‘a. Since its launching in 1975, Hokule‘a has logged more than 60,000 miles sailing in Polynesian waters. The crew of this canoe, which has no modern navigational aids on board, relies on traditional means of navigation on the voyages.
In 1984, Kane was elected a Living Treasure of Hawai‘i. In the 1987 celebration of the Year of the Hawaiian, he was one of 16 persons chosen as Po‘okela (champion). Kane was the 1998 recipient of the Charles R. Bishop Medal, awarded by the Bishop Museum, Hawai‘i’s state museum of natural and cultural history. His stamps for the Postal Service include Hawai‘i Statehood (1984), Northern Marianas (1993), Republic of Palau (1995), American Samoa (2000), and Hawai‘i Statehood (2009). Mr. Kane died on March 8, 2011