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Vaka Valo Association is in Charge! Their Programs are Underway!

The Vaka Taumako Project (VTP) of the Pacific Traditions Society, under Direction of cultural anthropologist and sailor Marianne “Mimi” George, had a research permit in the Solomon Islands for 20 years. During that time the George, and the VTP, worked in support of the aims­ of Te Aliki Koroso Kaveia—the main aim being to teach a new generation to build and navigate voyaging canoes using only ancient designs, methods, materials, and tools. Kaveia died in 2009, and his students are now leading these efforts through their own organization, Vaka Valo Association (VVA).

VVA, also known as the Vaka Taumako Project of Solomon Islands (VTPSI), was officially registered as a Solomon Islands charitable organization in 2014. Starting January 1, 2017, the VTP officially works under VVA in Solomon Islands. VVA is run by a Board of Directors. Dr Simon Salopuka is the Executive Director of VVA. Dr. George is a non-voting, international member of the VVA Board of Directors.

VVA Media and Lata Voyaging School (Lata Hahoaki Holau)

VVA will launch their own website as soon as can be afforded. There is still no electricity, phone, or WIFI service in Duff Islands. What is posted on the wpvaka.wpengine.com website is usually done from Hawaii. When Dr Salopuka is not in Duff Islands he sometimes can access internet and make posts to wpvaka.wpengine.com and vakataumako on facebook. VVA will also launch their own facebook page as soon as possible.

VTP and VVA are collaborating on completion of a 2 part documentary film series “We the Voyagers.” The film is in roughcut form. Completion funds are needed.

As soon as a permanent structure can be built, all photos, recordings, video footage, reports, publications, and other archival materials that have been gathered by the VTP (and are being stored by the VTP) will be available in the Halevaka (Canoe House) Archive of the Lata Voyaging School. Architectural plans of these structures are nearly completed and we are fundraising to begin construction as soon as possible. Eventually it is the plan of VVA that the Lata School will welcome voyaging students from local and international venues.

Hahoaki Sea-Training Programs

During 2017 two main voyages were planned. Holau Ndeni (voyage to Sta Cruz Island) was accomplished June 2-4. Holau Vanuatu will begin as soon as the right wind comes in November.   During July – October maintenance will be done on both TePuke—Vaka Valo (the one at Ndeni) and Vaka Causey (the one at Taumako). When Vaka Valo is relashed it will be used in sea-training around Duff Islands. When Vaka Valo reaches Vanuatu, it must stay there several months until the right winds blow so it can sail back home to Taumako, or onward to another international venue, such as Fiji or New Caledonia.

International Voyaging Programs and Festival Participations

VVA is hoping for an invitation, and some necessary per diem support, to voyage to Honiara to participate in the Melanesian Arts Festival in June/July 2018.

VVA hopes to participate in the FestPac in Honolulu in 2020. In 2010 VVA also hopes to complete the Te Alo Lili (that was begun in Hawaii in 1999), sail it to FestPac, and then after FestPac is over, sail it home.

There are other gatherings of voyagers planned for 2018 and 2019 that VVA aims to participate in.

VVA is proposing youth exchanges and voyaging student training exchanges with students from other islands and countries. VVA aims to re-establish partnerships and networks of voyagers throughout the islands of Temotu and beyond.

VVA seeks an emergency and support (and small cargo) vessel with an auxiliary engine to run in service of Duff Islands and other remote islands of SE Solomons.

Lata's Children - Hana Hou Magazine

Lata’s Children

We’re in this month’s Hana Hou Magazine! Read more

Heritage Expeditions

Heritage Expeditions joins the Vaka Taumako Project

The “Spirit of Enderby,” a 50 passenger cruise ship of Heritage Expeditions, will visit Duff Islands (Taumako) on Nov 1st. They will be greeted by the crew of the TePuke that will sail to Vanuatu as soon as the favorable Te Palapu wind blows.

Heritage Expeditions

Heritage Expeditions

Thanks to Heritage Expeditions, Dr. Salopuka and Heuionalani Wyeth will give presentations aboard and travel with the ship to Sola, Vanualava, where they will coordinate for the Holau Vanuatu voyagers.

Heritage Expeditions regard their role as “ Ambassadors for conservation, pioneers of discovery, and leaders in expedition travel to the world’s best-kept secrets.” This is the sort of cruise ship we can recommend whole-heartedly!

Doc Simon interviewed in The Island Sun

Vaka Taumako Project’s Dr. Simon Salopuka was recently interviewed by The Island Sun newspaper of Solomon Islands.

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WCC Presentation 2016

VTP at the World Conservation Congress

A few fresh pics of Drs. Salopuka and George presenting at the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawai’i.  Dr. Salopuka’s presentation was “We are the crew of Lata: Moana Is Our Home”

Doc Simon at WCC

Dr Salopuka talks about the jobs that all the crew of Lata do to build and sail.

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Doc Simon presenting at the conference

Sailing With Lata/Laka: Presentation at East West Center

Come See how Ancient Polynesian Voyaging is still practiced today.  Drs. Simon Salopuka and Mimi George of the Vaka Taumako Project of Solomon Islands present from 12 noon to 1PM, Sept 8. Everyone welcome! limited seating, pay parking available on UH campus, sponsored by East-West Center Pacific Islands Development Program & UH Manoa Center for Pacific Island Studies. Read more

Solomon Islands map painting

Voyaging Goals Set for 2016

Mimi and Meph have just returned from two busy and productive weeks in Solomon Islands.  Here are a few highlights:For the last few months there was no communication with anyone at Duff Islands.  In the best of times there can be intermittent radio contact between individuals at the Duff Islands and Lata or Honiara.  But there has been none for the last several months, which is not unusual.  So we all had a lot to talk about and plan.

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Cyclone Pam: Recovery Recommendations

Dr. Simon Salopuka, of Vaka Taumako Project – Solomon Islands, will submit this report to the SI government, offering recovery recommendations in the wake of Cylcone Pam.

Vaka Taumako Project registered in Solomon Islands

The Vaka Taumako Project’s Solomon Islands wing is now up and running.  We are now officially registered as a charitable organization in the Solomon Islands as the Vaka Taumako Project of Solomon Islands (VTPSI), also known locally as “Valo Group.”

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Holau Kaveia

Aloha Kakou!

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.
Principal Investigator
The Vaka Taumako Project

Holau Kaveia 2012 – Report