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Vaka Marumaru Atua crew embarks on cultural voyage to Hawaii

Saturday 11 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Art, Features

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Vaka Marumaru Atua crew embarks on cultural voyage to Hawaii
Captain Peia Patai waves out as Vaka Marumaru Atua sets sail with 16 courageous crew on a significant voyage across the vast Pacific Ocean to Hawai’i for the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture, which will convene in Honolulu from June 6–16, 2024. MELINA ETCHES/24051074

After a week of waiting for fair winds to lead them on their way, the Vaka Marumaru Atua crew was farewelled at Avarua wharf yesterday morning at 8am by family, friends, and Kōrero O Te `Ōrau organisation.

Traditional navigator Peia Patai, serving as captain, anticipates the vaka will take around 25 days to reach Hawaii, for the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture, which be held in Honolulu from July 6–16, 2024

“This is not farewell or goodbye ... we will see you all later,” said Patai. “Thank you to our people and everyone who has supported us on this voyage.”

Keli’i Kaneshiro from Hawaii is excited to be one of the crew sailing on his longest and biggest ocean voyage from Rarotonga to his homeland.

Kamoe Mataiapo Ian Karika, president of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society, presented Kaneshiro and Hulu Nunokawa, both from Hawaii, with a stone each from the hills of Rarotonga.

The crew were in good spirits and eager to start sailing the seas.

At 6pm yesterday, Vaka Marumaru Atua was positioned S 20'41.122 W 158'46.029, COG 060', SOG 6.2Knt.

“Situation NNE winds still on our port bow wind has dropped down to 9knots both sails full stay sails down and raised the AP on the headsails, have made 65Nm as of 0800hrs this morning. making good mileage, the crew are enjoying dinner,” the vaka reported.