Vaka Motu Okeanos Waa’Qab arrives at Avarua harbour on Monday morning. MELINA ETCHES/22101702
The blowing of the conch shell and drum beats from Temanavanui Drummers welcomed Vaka Motu Okeanos Waa’Qab into Avarua Harbour yesterday morning.
Okeanos Waa’Qab will be used as a training vessel in
the revival of traditional voyaging skills in the Cook Islands.
The 50-foot, twin-hulled open-ocean sailing canoe has
a design based on a traditional Polynesian model and is the third built by
Auckland’s Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders.
Described as the “work boat of the Pacific”, the vaka
weighs nine tonnes and can accommodate 11 people and three tonnes of cargo.
The Okeanos Foundation for the Sea has gifted the vaka
to the Cook Islands – the organisation has been developing and funding projects
which inspire and initiate positive change for people and the environment.
Okeanos fleet commander, the Cook Islands Pwo master
navigator Peia Patai was unable to join the crew on the recent voyage from
Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia but met the crew on their arrival.
Patai has expressed his appreciation to Dieter
Paulmann and Okeanos Foundation for Sea, for the vaka, which is now in the
hands of the Cook Islands Te Puna Marama Voyaging Foundation. The Foundation
will use the vaka to assist with the revival of traditional voyaging among
Te Puna Marama also has a long-term goal to open
pathways for career opportunities, both modern and traditional, in the maritime
sector for young people.
Okeanos Waa’Qab arrived in Rarotonga late on Sunday
night. The vaka and crew waited for customs clearance yesterday morning before
entering Avarua Harbour.
Minister of Tauranga Vananga (Ministry of Culture) George
“Maggie” Angene, Secretary of Tauranga Vananga, Anthony Turua and Tiori
Rangatira - Nooroa Teina on behalf of Makea Vakatina Phillip Tamatoa Ariki were
among the guests who welcomed the crew onshore.
The vaka is expected to depart Rarotonga next weekend
(weather permitting) for the island of Mangaia.