Upcoming Vaka voyage aims to make history

Thursday 10 June 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Culture, National

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Upcoming Vaka voyage aims to make history
The seventeen crew members of Vaka Marumaru Atua. which will set sail for its voyage to the Northern Group later this month. 21061001

An epic voyage with themes of cultural preservation, knowledge sharing, and environmental awareness will soon take the 17 brave crew members of Vaka Marumaru Atua to the islands of the Northern Pa Enua.

With success, the trip will be deemed as historic as the Vaka will have earned the status of having visited all of the Cook Islands over the course of its lifetime.

Speaking at a media launch held at Trader Jacks on Tuesday, Cook Islands Voyaging Society (CIVS) members said they had three motives for the journey.

They aim to collect any micro-plastics they come across while using a micro plastic trawler, which will allow them to conduct a survey about the amount of micro plastics in Cook Islands waters.

Their second objective is to upskill crew members, particularly younger ones.

The group said their third objective is to share knowledge of voyaging with those in the Pa Enua, while also learning from them and furthering their own knowledge.

The theme of the voyage is ‘Taua e Moana’, which means ‘The sea and I’.

The theme highlights the concept of the ocean being a partner to human beings, and something that must coincide with in a sense of “kinship”.

 A select number of youth within the crew have gained the opportunity through Korero o te Orau’s 'Atui'anga ki te Tango senior program.

“There is a wealth of indigenous knowledge that will be passed on and taught to the whole crew under the very solid leadership and mentorship from the senior navigators,” Alex Olah told local media.

The launch coincided with World Oceans Day and included a presentation about the upcoming voyage as well as a ‘meet and greet’ with the crew.


Sailor Alex Olah steers Vaka Marumaru Atua towards Avarua harbour. PHOTO: BYRON BROWN/ 21050406.

The event - a collaboration between CIVS, Korero o te Orau, and Te Ipukarea Society - allowed for the official introduction of the 2021 crew for the voyage, which is scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.

The seventeen crew members of the vaka are Peia Patai (master navigator and captain), Tua Pittman - (master navigator/CIVS - non-sailing mentor), Deon Wong (CIVS - watch captain), Papa Steve Daniels (CIVS), Terii Pittman (CIVS), Shane Warren (CIVS), Oliver Oolders (CIVS), Sandra Ankli (CIVS/onboard medic), Dr Teina Rongo (technical Lead), Kura Happ (technical assistant), Teupoko Ariihee (media), Dauson Tupou (AKTT student), Kane Heather (AKTT student), Pareu Pera (AKTT student), Isaac Nio (AKTT student), Kelvin Passfield (technical lead) and Alanna Smith (technical assistant).

Upon completion of their visit the Northern Group, the crew will then make their way to the Southern Group islands.

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