We now have a translation of the research report of social anthropologist and round-the-world sailor, Renate Westner, MA. She came to Taumako in 2007 to study the educational and life experience of children.
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
In addition to their vast knowledge of asterisms, wind, waves, and currents, sailors of the Duff and Reef Island groups make use of a unique phenomenon that has barely been documented, let alone witnessed by outside researchers. Read more
A Preliminary Report by Dr. Marianne “Mimi” George
Prepared for the National Science Foundation 2009 Read more
III. NAVIGATION AND PILOTING USING TE LAPA – FLASHES OF LIGHT THAT EMANATE FROM LAND
Elaborations on previously conveyed and demonstrated data was given by Kaveia several other people who took voyages. A summary list of distinct characteristics of Te Lapa and a complex diagram that has comparative value for Marshallese diagrams is given here. Read more
II. NAVIGATION USING SWELLS AND WAVES – “HOKOHUA LOA AND HOKOHUA KIKO”
Data was elaborated that added to and built upon previously conveyed data (during 27 inter-island voyages in the Santa Cruz Group and between Taumako and New Zealand in small sailboats during 1993 – 2005). The new data includes various drawings and discussions of how one senses the phenomena and how widespread it is, and in three demonstrations at sea (outside the fringing reef) within 5 n.m. of Taumako during the 2008 field season. Read more
I. NOHOANGA TE MATANGI – POSITIONS OF THE WIND
A navigational system correlating a horizonal array of wind positions with other observable phenomena – e.g. swells, sunrise and sunset paths, celestial bodies, seasons, dynamic behavior of winds, solstices and equinoxes, voyaging routes, star paths, etc. – and built upon an awareness and perception of phenomena that are not taught in western navigation or seamanship. Read more