Terena Koteka-Wiki and Bernie King, first time voyagers. Te Ipukarea Society/ 21100124
Sailing feels like reconnecting to the ways that our ancestors travelled. Don’t poke fun, I certainly had my fair share of Moana moments onboard Vaka Marumaru Atua, writes Terena Koteka-Wiki of Te Ipukarea Society.
to the Southern Group islands was an opportunity of a lifetime and one that I
will never forget!
sail was the perfect time to reconnect with the ocean and our surrounding
environments. New friendships, naps in the sun, but above all the discovery of
moments of great emotion that for the first time you are living onboard the
were several moments of joy, laughter, and many songs played on the ukulele by
the beautiful Konini Rongo. Learning about the stars on clear nights from watch
captain Deon Wong was enlightening.
feel very fortunate and grateful to have been able to go on this voyage and
experience a collaboration so unique.
the respectful collaboration of each organisation, including Korero o te Orau,
Cook Islands Voyaging Society and Te Ipukarea Society, with the island communities
involved, we shared a wealth of knowledge from ocean pollution to coral
bleaching and learning the ropes on the vaka.
personally loved that the crew onboard the vaka all shared a similar interest –
our love for the ocean. The passion and motivation to help educate the students
and the wider communities about our ocean’s health was so evident and strong.
is important that we share the current state of our ocean’s health with the
students and communities of the Cook Islands because it will be the future
generations that will be impacted by our actions.
of the key messages we were passing on was the potential risks involved with
mining our deep ocean floor, and the need for more time before even considering
for more independent research, time to build the capacity of local scientists,
engineers and others to allow for rational decision making.
feel very proud and honoured to have had the opportunity to represent Te
Ipukarea Society on Vaka Marumaru Atua on this second leg of the Tāua e Moana
voyage to the Southern Group islands and alongside the best crew!
island will be remembered for many unique traditions, but one standout was the
welcoming ceremony the Tāua e Moana team received
from each island. Let’s not forget all the kaikai’s that we were blessed with!
boarding the vaka I had one goal which was not to get seasick and I feel like I
did very well, mostly! Unfortunately, the sail from Mauke to Mangaia had other
ideas in store for me but it was all good in the end.
family and I are from Nga-Pu-Toru, my mama Kathy Koteka was born in Mauke and
married my papa, Dr. George Koteka in Atiu. My mum Emm Koteka-Wiki was born in
Rarotonga but grew up and attended Api’i Mangaia. Presenting to the students at
the school she attended growing up was an awesome experience. I couldn’t help
but look at the view from the school in Mangaia – it was beautiful!
voyage had me feeling so many different emotions; proud, joyful and
exhilarated. There was certainly no shortage of highlights and I look forward
to future voyages!