I am so happy to tell you the good news. At last, the educational vision of the late Chief Kaveia is being fully realized! Taumako has a new generation of leaders in place, and now the small children who prepared coconut husks for sennit and who gathered and crushed seaweed into paint for the 1997 te puke, and the mature adults who made several vaka since then, are all fervently focused on learning to be voyagers. There is no confusion about the value of this ancient knowledge for the future of these Polynesians. Theywant to sail in the old way because it is who they are and because they see that the sustainable and appropriate, ancient technology, as well as the wisdom, of their ancestors is still the key to their future wellbeing. At last the phenomenal enthusiasm of the community is matched by pro-active provincial and national political support for a renewal of traditional voyaging. The customary relationships and activities that occur when a voyaging canoe arrives at a distant island are now happening. At last Kaveia’s dream is coming true.
Here I tell the story of what happened during the voyages of Holau Kaveia. I intend to write more science oriented reports next. However this story includes my subjective feelings and senses as well as some of the data about the navigation methods and environmental conditions we experienced at sea.
During September, 2012, 9 crew members from Taumako, were joined by 4 crew members from Nifiloli, 5 video and escort boat crew from Hawaii, and many community members from Taumako, Nifiloli, Matema, Fenualoa, Pileni, Nukapu, Makalom, Ndeni, Pigeon and Lomlom Islands, and Honiara. All participants and communities gave strong support for sea-going education for the new generation.
Holau Kaveia is now at Nifiloli awaiting westerly and northerly winds to make voyages to Santa Cruz, and back to Taumako. Ideally the vessel will sail home to Taumako in time for the big memorial for Kaveia. There thanks will be given, and plans will be made for future voyages. We hope to sail a fleet of Vaka o Lata to Vanuatu for a reunion with lost family members in November, 2013.
Marianne “Mimi” George, PhD.
The Vaka Taumako Project