Council Member Profiles
Former Reserve Advisory Council member profile
2001 – 2016
"Papahānaumokuākea is special in many ways---culturally, spiritually, naturally/biologically---and deserves to be cared for. In ways we know as well as ways we don’t understand, it has, and continues to, take care of us. "
– Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson, an advisory council member at the inception of the reserve in 2001 and continuing until 2016, has been a strong advocate for outreach and education programs in the monument. She devoted years to marine conservation, education, and ensuring that Hawai'I resources are protected for the next generation.
Laura worked to find new and innovative partners to help carry out the monument’s messages of marine conservation. As a board member of Polynesian Voyaging Society, she worked as a liaison between the monument and the navigators and crews of the double-hulled canoe Hokule’a to carry the messages of marine conservation world-wide.
Laura willingly opened her home over the years to host special events for key leaders from around the world on the monument’s behalf. In 2007 she hosted the Chairperson of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Chief Tumu Te Hueheu of New Zealand, and his delegation and staff, at her home. The event also included many leaders in the Native Hawaiian community, and was pivotal in obtaining support for the nomination and eventual inscription of Papahānaumokuākea as a World Heritage site.
Laura has also been a valuable mentor to monument staff over the years, willing to “talk story” and to share her wealth of knowledge, life experience, and wry sense of humor.
A humble and soft-spoken person, Laura, as a member of the council, made sure that management was always doing the right thing for the plants, animals and culture of Papahānaumokuākea. Her dedication to protecting the place and its culture are profound.