Nearly 3,000 news stories across the globe; audience reach of 1.7 billion; 64,720 comments and shares across social platforms; 87,587 visitor sessions at Hokulea.com – all of that, in four days last June. If you didn’t hear in that Hōkūleʻa had arrived back home, you were living under a rock.

National industry leaders in communications took notice. Nearly one year after Hōkūleʻa ended her inspiring global voyage, the team behind the storytelling were awarded a prestigious national prize for communications: the grand prize for Nonprofit Campaign of the Year by PR Daily.

The award, given each year to the nation’s best nonprofit communications campaign, is one of the highest honors given for public relations and communications professionals in the nonprofit space.

“The privilege of sharing Hōkūleʻa’s inspiring call with the world is a rare honor and something we continue to be grateful for,” said Christine Matsuda Smith, Bennet Group senior vice president. “The partnership we forged with ʻŌiwi TV on the voyage has blossomed into an incredible body of work, starting with this campaign and extending to innovative, strategic, and culturally-rich storytelling that helps advance our community here at home.”

Bennet Group Strategic Communications and ʻŌiwi TV worked together as partners, collaborating with the internal team at the Polynesian Voyaging Society, to share the message of Mālama Honua – to care for our Island Earth – and to shine a consistent spotlight on the incredible stories coming from the voyage, every day, for four years.

PR Daily made special note of the sheer challenge of planning a communications strategy that would encompass four years, 40,000 miles, 85 ports of call and 26 nations. The organization also recognized the results of the campaign –– namely, a survey conducted by the City and County of Honolulu revealing the voyage as one of the top three points of pride for O‘ahu residents –– as a sure sign of a job well done.

Bennet Group Strategic Communications and ʻŌiwi TV competed against some of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund and Habitat for Humanity, to nab the top spot.

Click here to view the complete list of winners from PR Daily’s 2018 Nonprofit PR Awards.

Click here to view the announcement of Bennet Group Strategic Communications and ʻŌiwi TV’s campaign as the grand prize winner.

Click here for PBN’s story on Christine Matsuda Smith


About Bennet Group Strategic Communications

Bennet Group Strategic Communications provides full-service public relations and strategic communications counsel to a variety of businesses in Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. The firm provides corporate communications, public affairs and public policy, media training, crisis communications, social media, integrated marketing and issues management, among other services. More information is available on its website www.bennetgroup.com.

About ʻŌiwi TV

ʻŌiwi TV produces top-quality documentaries, news and multimedia content from a uniquely Hawaiian perspective. The wisdom, beauty and power of Hawaii are the backdrop to the most important and interesting narratives of our generation. Founded by Nāʻālehu Anthony, Keoni Lee, and Amy Kalili, this next generation of Native Hawaiian storytellers aim to tell the stories of our land and our people.

The stories we tell—from the clients we work with to the questions we ask—are shaped by our aspiration to revitalize and affirm a positive native Hawaiian world view. We work to create a new narrative of the modern Hawaiian experience.


Media Contact
Kalli Abernathy
Bennet Group Strategic Communications
(808) 772-2300