This is the first time for Hawaii to win this award. The Plate was originally proposed in 2020 to be limited to Electric Vehicles since members of the PVS were also concerned about the environment, but that limitation was quickly dropped as the demand for the plate was great among all motorists, which also generated more income.

PVS is a non-profit organization established in 1973 to research and perpetuate traditional Polynesian voyaging methods. Ann Botticelli, a member of the PVS Board of Directors, was elated to learn that their plate had won such a prestigious award. She said, “We are so honored to have our design recognized by ALPCA. It is especially meaningful to be recognized on the weekend of Hokule’s inaugural launch in 1975. Every time I see this plate on the road, it reinforces how important and treasured the tradition of Polynesian Voyaging is to people across Hawai’i.” ALPCA President Cyndi McCabe stated “Congratulations to the state of Hawaii for winning the 2022 Best Plate Award. With its striking, colorful depiction of the Hokule’s traditional voyaging canoe anchored at Kualoa, it’s no wonder that the Polynesian Voyaging Society specialty license plate emerged as the winner!”

The winning plate was designed by Todd Yamashita, a graphic designer from the Island of Molokai, which has only 7,000 residents, where he also works his one-acre farm. He was an employee of PVS when he started designing the plate. After the pandemic, he was laid off and decided to complete the changes he wanted to make, so the final design debuted a few months later.

To the PVS members, voyaging is far more than an activity or adventure to native Hawaiians. It represents a connection to their past, their heritage, their ancestors, and so much more. The canoe is anchored at Kualoa because it was considered a sacred area by their elders. This vessel has been sailed literally around the world. Their upcoming world voyage is expected to take about 4 years to complete. The canoe can hold about 20 people but typically travels with 12. In their initial voyages, they traveled without an escort until tragedy struck and one life was lost. All of the following voyages had an escort vessel along with a doctor about the escort.