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.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Hawaii - 18th June 2011
Talofa Lava to Aiga, Friends and Everyone who have been devotedly following our voyage. We’d like to formally apologise to the lateness in our updates, it’s been quite an event while in Hilo and we’ve been having slight technical logistic challenges in getting this off to you. Enough with the excuses and on with what had happened today.
It was an early day as the fleet was treated with a tour and ceremony today hosted by the Makali’i family (Na Kalai Wa`a Moku o Hawai`i). Makali’i for those who are not aware is a double hull voyaging canoe which is based in Hawaii and has similar missions and goals as Gaualofa. We had three buses for our tour and everyone started loading up, as we had a strict schedule to stick to according to our Makali’i family. Our first stop was in Waimea, for a scenic tour of the two valleys by the Pacific Ocean, it was also a much needed bathroom break for the crews as the drive there from Hilo was about 1 and a half.!
The tour continued onto Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site in Kawaihae. The Heiau (stone temple or paepae) is quite majestic, measuring 68. 2 metres in length and 30 metres in width, made of large red stones said to be from Polulu Valley and moved by a human chain over 22.5 km long. The Heiau, considered to be the last one constructed in Hawaii, was built by King Kamehameha I in dedication to Kūkā'ilimoku (a war god). It was prophesied by the high priest Kāpoūkahi that only after building the temple would King Kamehameha be able to conquer the whole of Hawaii. The king directed that the temple be built immediately on Puukohola (Whale Hill). Less than a year later the temple was finished. King Kamehameha invited his rival Keō Kūahu’ula to the dedication, who was sacrificed on the spot. The death of his rival quickly ended all resistance and the prophesy was soon fulfilled - in 1810 King Kamehameha I was the revered sovereign of all the Hawaiian Islands.
After our tour we made our way down to the Makali’i base which is within walking distance from the Heiau. The base is pretty cool: it’s a couple of old movie sets that have been reinforced and reconstructed to suit the voyaging society. The base is right by the water and it was quite windy that day, possibly 18+ knots - really great sailing weather. While we had lunch and caught up with the Makali’i family we could see shark fins in the water - quite a sight.
We were soon back on the bus and making our way to another base of the Makali’i family. On arrival our hosts directed us to a hill right over a cliff overlooking the channel between Hawaii and Maui, where a ceremony would take place. You could almost see the currents between the islands. The Honourable Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin was present for this ceremony as it was quite an important binding ceremony and show of support. The fleet was greeted with chanting and hula dances by our Hawaiian cousins; each va’a participated in a braiding ceremony connecting tea leaves to a set of stones in the middle. The inspiration of this ceremony reflects the braided leaves as tentacles of the fe’e (octopus) reaching out to everyone. Regardless of the distances and differences each Island is connected. Afterwards, the navigators and captains were invited to take the braided tea leaves up to a hill next to the cliffs. According to oral history this hill was used for training by the navigators of old. The hill had a sense of tranquillity to it, quite relaxing. The group stayed a bit longer then what was required while the rest of the fleet and Makali’i family found time to connect.
It’s a great feeling to be finally on land again as well as being in Hawaii. It’s been one of our goals from the beginning to meet our cousins in the Northern Hemisphere. This goal has been marked, though our voyage is far from over.
Mahalo nui loa