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Promoting traditional navigation

Wednesday 18 January 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National, Travel

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Promoting traditional navigation
Master Pwo Navigator Peia Patai (left) Waka builder and navigator from Aotearoa New Zealand, Heemi Eruera. 23011713

Te Puna Marama Voyaging Foundation will continue its Iriiri Kapua No Runga i te Tuku Kaveinga Maori a te Ui Tupuna (workshop series and discussions on how our ancestors navigated), early next month.

Thanks to the support of the Pawanka Fund and their language revitalization grant, the chairman of the charitable trust Cook Islands Master (Pwo) navigator Peia Patai and trustees Cecile Marten and Maara Maeva will head off to Aotearoa New Zealand on February 8th to reconnect and engage with Te Toki Voyaging and voyagers.

Discussions will also be held in the collection and documentation of indigenous Cook Islands Star Names/Celestial names translation and accepted use of Cook Island Star names and other navigational names to be used for teaching of navigation.

The United Nations has designated the period 2022 to 2023 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (the International Decade) recognising how important it is to raise awareness of the crucial role languages play in people's daily lives.

Patai said: “We are grateful for the support of the Pawanka Fund which will also facilitate the translation of Te Puna Marama training programmes into Reo Maori.”


Heemi Eruera and Peia Patai look over the work done on the vaka. 23011711

After a break in the weather, repair work on the Vaka Motu resumed early this month.

The vaka will be renamed “Paikea” at a blessing ceremony on April 14th followed by the maiden sail with her new name to the ancestral of Paikea - Mauke Akatokamanava. A training workshop on voyaging will also be held on Mauke.

Te Puna Marama are also looking for crew and captains to train for their programmes and future exchanges with Aotearoa and Hawaii, no experience is required as full training will be done.

Those who are interested in learning to sail and navigating and would like to be part of their upcoming programmes can message the group via Facebook.

Last week, Te Puna Marama celebrated its first year anniversary -  2022 was a busy year with the presentations of its first training programmes, workshops and delivery of the vaka Okeanos WaaQab. 

Aotearoa waka builder and navigator, Heemi Eruera who was visiting the island earlier this month also popped in to see how work on the vaka was going and to meet up again with some of the crew.

Te Puna Marama has a long-term goal to open pathways for career opportunities in the maritime sector for young people.