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Vaka to add training resources in revival of voyaging skills

Tuesday 18 October 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, National

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Vaka to add training resources in revival of voyaging skills
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 other skills.

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.