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30 November 2020

A magical voyage of discovery

Wednesday 18 November 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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A magical voyage of discovery
The Henry family and Maria Tuoro welcome Marumaru Atua crew home. From left: Ian Karika, Jennifer Henry, Liana Henry, Moanaarii Henry, Byron Brown and Maria Tuoro. Front left: Dominik Maao and Tetaura Henry. 20111711

Maria Tuoro says as children of the ocean, we are descended from legacies of voyagers, and if she can do it anyone can.

Marae Moana Director Maria Tuoro was onboard Vaka Marumaru Atua on the journey to Aitutaki - her debut voyage along with Prime Minister Mark Brown.

Tuoro felt no motion sickness at sea and was surprised at her capability to persevere an overnight voyage.

A highlight for her was watching the crew sail, especially bubbly and energetic Ana Maine, one of the crew who has such a small frame.

Tuoro had no idea what to do on board. “We were literally guests, I helped out by staying out of the way,” she said.

“We are children of the ocean, we are descended from legacies of voyagers, if I can do it anyone can.”

Marae Moana acquired funding from Seacology to support the Cook Islands Voyaging Society’s initiatives and programmes.

The purpose of the trip was to see where the actual support is going and to see what goes on.

Marumaru Atua arrives at Avarua harbour. (Photo: Melina Etches) 20111702

“It’s encouraging to see more young Cook Island people being trained,” Tuoro said.

Tuoro’s motivation to support Marumaru Atua is her belief in culture and traditions.

“I think it’s magical, that this artform and expression of who we are as legacies of ocean voyagers is unmatched. I am a proud Cook Islander and Polynesians share this spirit with other Pacific peoples,” she said.

“This voyage taught me patience, to listen, to learn and to let others who know better guide you. It also taught me that faith in God always gets you through any situation as well as that I honour those who have gone before us.

Byron Brown takes the steer of vaka Marumaru Atua to Rarotonga. (Photo: Sam Napa). 20111721

“I literally paid homage to my ancestors, who lived this life on the ocean and settle later on the lands we call home today. Personally I learnt to appreciate that I am exactly where I need to be at this exact moment and I was fine.”

Tuoro flew back to Rarotonga on Monday on Air Rarotonga and she welcomed the vaka and crew on their return at Avarua harbour yesterday afternoon.