Joining the two sister sailing vessels from French Polynesia to the Cook Islands will be Tahiti’s Fafaite vaka.
The Cook Islands Voyaging Society will have food and education stalls at the Lagoon Day event at the Punanga Nui Markets this Thursday and Friday to share the voyaging message and fundraise to host the voyaging family. The community at large is asked to be prepared to host the voyaging family expected to arrive in the Cooks between July 28 and 31.
On board vaka Hikianalia is the Cook Islands’ very own master traditional navigator Tua Pittman who will help guide the crew through the Cook Islands waters voyaging past the Nga Pu Toru islands of Mauke, Atiu and Mitiaro on their way to Rarotonga.
Currently the voyagers are island hoping across French Polynesia where crews have visited some of the most significant Polynesian historic sites – including Hōkūleʻa’s ‘Tahiti home’ the village of Tautira.
The leg to Tautira has been described as a homecoming for vaka Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia.
“This is a homecoming. Tautira is always a homecoming. From the very beginning in 1976, as soon as the canoe came here the people adopted the canoe, adopted the crew, adopted the whole concept of what it was all about,” said master navigator Bruce Blankenfeld.
“The village of Tautira embodies many of the values of mālama honua. The people here are fishermen; farmers. They live in balance with their natural environment. So the people here at Tautira have many lessons for us to learn of how we can better take better care of our environment and mālama honua,” said Hikianalia crew member Maui Tauotaha.
Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia launched their Mālama Honua World Wide Voyage (WWV) in early June with the mission to address the global issues that face all from global warming to resource sustainability – issues that especially affect ocean communities.
This voyage hopes to inspire communities around the world to think like an islander about resources and relationships to these resources.
The international portion of the Worldwide Voyage begins with a return to Tahiti, Hōkūleʻa’s second home where tributes were made to the founding teachers that made the modern voyage possible.
When Hōkūleʻa reaches Rarotonga at the end of the month – it will be her first visit since 1995.
Cook Islands’ own Vaka Marumaru Atua is expect to greet the voyaging fleet of Hōkūleʻa, Hikianalia and Tahiti vaka Faafaite in the Nga Pu Toru waters and escort them to Rarotonga.
The voyagers are expected to depart Rarotonga around July 8 and sail to Aitutaki and Suwarrow.
Tua Pittman will continue on the voyage from the Cook Islands to American Samoa and fellow Cook Islands master traditional navigator Peia Patai will jump on board the voyage as captain of Hikianalia from Rarotonga to Pago Pago while Pittman will switch to vaka Hōkūleʻa from Rarotonga to Samoa.