Kia orana, On behalf of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society I would like to express our disappointment at the Kata Cartoon on Saturday 20th June 2020, depicting the Prime Minister Henry Puna “abandoning ship”.
The Cook Island Voyaging Society was founded in 1993 on a legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration. Our Mission is to perpetuate the art and science of traditional navigation through voyaging, experiential education, and inspiring communities to care for each other, our culture, and our ocean environment.
For many years we have fought to see our traditional vaka recognised as one of the safest ocean going vessels.
Marumaru Atua, as a registered flag ship of the Maritime Cook Islands, has to undergo rigorous safety checks and surveys to maintain its registration and to comply with our insurance requirements.
Since her launch in 2009, Marumaru Atua sailed a combined 200,000 nautical miles of open ocean with a fleet of seven vaka, visiting Hawaii before sailing up to America, Mexico, Cocos Island, Galapagos, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, without one single incident!
In 2015 Marumaru Atua sailed to Australia to promote and highlight the effects of climate change on the Pacific.
For Kata to depict the vaka as a “sinking ship” is an insult to our Society and all our Pacific voyaging families.
Cecile Marten Secretary, Cook Islands Voyaging Society
Editor’s note: The Kata cartoon showed the vaka surmounting the waves, and certainly not sinking.