We feel honored to continue in the wake of our ancestors, learning from their ancient wisdom, and venturing forth into the future with a new mission of healing our ocean and a rejuvenated Te Mana o Te Moana, the Spirit of the Sea. Our Polynesian ancestors respected and cared for the sea. Like our forefathers, thousands of years before us, we travel using traditional vaka moana – ocean going voyaging canoes. Our mission is simple: Use the wisdom of our ancestors, combined with modern science, to propel us into a more sustainable future, help heal our injured ocean, raise awareness, and to revive our cultural traditions of voyaging.
Demographically, our crews vary. We have come together from many islands, men and women, young and older, to sail our seven vaka as one. Starting in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in April of 2011, we sailed to Tahiti, the Marquesas, and throughout Hawaii where we attended the Kava Bowl Ocean Summit. At the Kava Bowl Summit, all voyagers, along with some of the top marine scientists in the world, came together to address the effects of climate change on our ocean, the economic worth of the ocean, and the intrinsic value we hold for our ocean. During this unique Summit, we built a bridge, linking our traditional wisdom, and spirit of the sea, with current scientific findings.
We concluded our North American leg of our journey by sailing down the California coast, from San Francisco to San Diego, and many points in between. After winterizing our vessels for five months in San Diego, we re-commenced our journey in January, 2012, continuing to raise awareness of the current health of our Pacific ocean and highlighting what people can do to help. During our voyage, we saw pockets of floating plastic and debris, litter strewn upon our beaches, and the most heartbreaking: a fin whale just off the shores of San Francisco, struggling and entangled in a piece of plastic rope that only took hold deeper.
We continued our voyage south to Cabo San Lucas and onto to The Galapagos. From this place of beauty and abundance, we made the long passage south to Tahiti, and then onto Rarotonga, Samoa, Fiji, and Vanuatu, before culminating our journey in the Solomon Islands for Festival of Pacific Arts in Honiara, July 2012. After the festival, our vaka family dispersed as each vaka returned back to her Pacific Island home, with some of the canoes stopping in New Caledonia, Tonga, and Tuvalu along the way.
The vaka will all continue to voyage through the various Voyaging Societies of the Pacific. Our journey is not ending, but has only begun as we continue our mission towards a sustainable and fossil fuel free Pacific.
View a map of the voyage Te Mana o Te Moana here: Track the Voyage.
Join us on our journey towards creating a sustainable future for Island Earth!