Pacific voyaging stems all the way back to genealogy where pacific islands can trace their origin to certain canoes. They achieved greatness sailing from South East Asia throughout the Pacific, down to New Zealand, up to Hawaii and east to Rapanui (Easter Island). It is said, “As she voyages, the canoe embodies balance, harmony, team work and respect”. Read more about Pacific Voyaging here.
The ancient art of wayfinding on traditional vessels had almost died out but it was revived in the 70s and continues to grow in strength today. From the website Pacific Voyager: “Bridging ancestral wisdom and renewable energy, the vaka tells a universal story of hope. The voyaging canoe is a powerful model of intergenerational learning and cross-cultural legacy, with tremendous potential to inspire pride in our common heritage, and to motivate change as we navigate towards a worlds of ecological suitability”.
The Wellington Chocolate Voyage has teamed up with Uto ni Yalo Trust to transport the team and cocoa beans from Bougainville to New Zealand. An awesome opportunity to promote a low carbon, lower cost option for shipping in the pacific.
The Uto ni Yalo Trust (formerly known as the Fiji Islands Voyaging Society) is dedicated to reviving sustainable sea transportation by rejuvenating and sustaining traditional Fijian canoe building, sailing and navigation skills. The Trust was established in 2010 and is the custodian of the vaka moana Uto ni Yalo.
Uto ni Yalo is one of seven double-hull canoe vessels built in 2010. The design is modelled of traditional vessels called vaka moana ‘boat of the sea’. The vessels maiden voyage was in 2011 called Te Mana O Te Moana ‘The Spirit of the Ocean’. The voyage involved many Pacific Island nations and sailed from New Zealand to Hawaii and onto San Diago, United States. The purpose was to advocate for environmental and climate change issues, promote traditional sailing methods and unite pacific communities and reconnect to the sea. The journey is being made into a documentary, check out a sneak peak here:
The seven vakas are now under the care of local NGOs throughout the Pacific. These trusts, along with Pacific Voyagers Charitable Trusts, are advocates of alternative transport for people and cargo in the islands that is cost effective and environmentally friendly. They also promote sustainable energy, food sovereignty and the fostering traditions and culture.
They have been doing many great things. In 2014 the Mua Voyage set sail to raise awareness of the Pacific Island’s unique position and call for action at the IUCN World Parks Congress. Uto ni Yalo were joined by other Pacific Island nations on their traditional sailing vessesls: Gaualofa (Samoa) with Tongan voyagers, Haunui (New Zealand), Marumaru Atua (Cook Islands).
The Blue Canoe Project was developed as a strategic plan to help guide Pacific Voyagers future activities. Check it out here. Another cool project is the Vaka Motu where traditional methods meet modern needs. At present transport within the pacific islands is un-flexible and costly. Here is a boat that runs at a faction of the cost, can carry 4 tonne of cargo, and can go to many places:
The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is turning out to be a wonderful collaboration of values and action. The Wellington Chocolate Factory is dedicated to sustainable practices, equitable trade and fostering relationships. Uto ni Yalo are active campaigners of sustainable transport, promotion of culture and tradition, building relationships and also awareness of environmental issues. To reiterate a powerful quote from Pacific Voyagers,
“The voyaging canoe is a powerful model of intergenerational learning and cross-cultural legacy, with tremendous potential to inspire pride in our common heritage, and to motivate change as we navigate towards a worlds of ecological suitability”.
Setting sail mid July, watch this space!