Nature provides hurdles in Pacific MUA voyage

Monday November 10, 2014 Written by Macquarie Port News Published in Culture
Traditional vaka voyagers from the Pacific are already drawing much needed attention to the region’s environmental and global warming concerns – a message Pacific island leaders will convey at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress in Sydney on November 12. Pictured is Vaka Marumaru Atua anchored on the Gold Coast two weeks ago when the MUA voyager made a historical stop in the region – the first time by traditional Pacific voyagers. Since leaving the Cook Islands on the MUA voyage, Marumaru Atua was joined by  Fiji’s Vaka Uto Ni Yalo and Samoa’s Gaualofa and together the three double hulled canoes have been raising the profile of the Pacific’s voice leading up to the conservation congress. Yesterday the voyagers were welcomed at the Yarra Bay Sailing Club with the welcome ceremony lead by the Samoa and Tongan community. The vessels have faced rough sailing conditions as they cruise the coast of Australia to Sydney.  Traditional vaka voyagers from the Pacific are already drawing much needed attention to the region’s environmental and global warming concerns – a message Pacific island leaders will convey at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress in Sydney on November 12. Pictured is Vaka Marumaru Atua anchored on the Gold Coast two weeks ago when the MUA voyager made a historical stop in the region – the first time by traditional Pacific voyagers. Since leaving the Cook Islands on the MUA voyage, Marumaru Atua was joined by Fiji’s Vaka Uto Ni Yalo and Samoa’s Gaualofa and together the three double hulled canoes have been raising the profile of the Pacific’s voice leading up to the conservation congress. Yesterday the voyagers were welcomed at the Yarra Bay Sailing Club with the welcome ceremony lead by the Samoa and Tongan community. The vessels have faced rough sailing conditions as they cruise the coast of Australia to Sydney. Donna Tuara.

It took longer than expected, but three ocean-voyaging canoes from Fiji, Cook Islands and Samoa finally arrived in Port Macquarie at 7am on Friday morning.

They're on the way to Sydney for the IUCN World Parks Congress on Wednesday and communications officer Dwain Qalovaki said the main point of their voyage was to garner support on their way to Sydney.
Qalovaki said it hadn't been all smooth sailing.
"We had some pretty rough weather when we left Southport, but these boats are built to withstand anything - they're not just pretty," he said.
The need for global action on oceans and climate change is the main reason behind the Mua Voyage - in recognition that these are issues that affect all Pacific Islanders.
Despite only being on the Mid-North Coast for a few hours, Qalovaki said the crews were making the most of their time by meeting people from the Polynesian community.
Qalovaki said crews on board were starting to get frustrated on Thursday afternoon when it appeared they were going nowhere.
"What was meant to be a six to eight-hour journey turned into a 24-hour voyage," he said. "We were just sitting there for what seemed like three hours so needless to say everyone on board was getting a little antsy."
 Interestingly,  Qalovaki said marine species' guided them too.
"We could be out at sea and not have seen any land for days, but if we saw something like a bluebottle we'd know we would be somewhere close to land," he said.
Leaders including the Prime Minister of Cook Islands,  Henry Puna, the president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, and the president of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, will join the Mua Voyage in Yarra Bay for the final sailing leg into Sydney Harbour for the opening of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014. 
 

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