The Samoa Voyaging Socety (SVS) works to promote positive Samoan cultural values, respect for the ocean and nature, individual and social responsibility, discipline and integrity.

The SVS considers that the reintroduction of traditional sailing in Samoa will provide opportunities for youth development (sports, leadership), environmental awareness, cultural development and, potentially, tourism opportunities such as whale watching and adventure tours.

SVS is developing hands-on educational and training programmes in traditional sailing and navigation. The programmes will target young Samoan youth including school children, school leavers and other interested groups. The task of learning traditional sailing and navigation skills also develops leadership and discipline among the youth, leading to well-rounded young people capable of contributing positively to the growth of this nation.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Va'a Have Converged in New Zealand

The network of va’a from around the South Pacific have converged in Auckland, New Zealand, and are once more finding themselves home among their pacific brothers and sisters.

It is beautiful seeing old faces from last year’s voyages, with time spent sitting around the Fijian ava bowl reminiscing of old times and the voyaging experiences all crews have had over the last year or so. Our Samoan crew is sleeping, eating, training, and most importantly laughing alongside crews from Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, PNG and the Solomon Islands.

With 40 to 50 hungry mouths to feed, the kitchen is always in full swing before dawn - preparing breakfast for the crews as they head out to do their daily duties. The Gaualofa is currently at Salt House Boats on the north Shore where she is getting a little TLC (tender loving care) from the Samoan crew. You can spot them lovingly sanding and painting Gaualofa, getting her ready for the epic voyage which all are about to embark upon.

Most importantly, all of the va’a will be outfitted with solar panels and an electric outboard motor in order to eliminate the reliance upon fossil fuels. No longer will this stunning fleet of va’a (seven in total) from around the Pacific expel greenhouse gasses through burning fossil fuels in order to propel themselves through the water (e.g. when in the harbour or in poor wind conditions).

All crews are eagerly preparing and anticipating our departure (which at this moment is projected for 11th April, 2011). In the meantime, the sense of community developing amongst the crews from varying backgrounds and a multitude of different Pacific Island nations is incredible to witness and even more lovely to partake in.

For now, the marae (Maori meeting house) in Mangere will be home to these voyagers, until they make their way to their true homes on their respective canoes at sea.

I must be off now - the lights have been turned off, and it is always best to be asleep before the cacophony of snores from around the hall takes off.

All the best from the crew of Gaualofa - safe and sound in New Zealand.

Fealofani Bruun

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