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.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lines, paths, houses and songs

Position: S 13°24.369, W 117°24.216

It was after the war of the Gods when the truth of IO became hidden, when the names of the gods became many and the new supplanted the old and bred with the daughters of man. A time after the separation of Lagi and Papa when Maui Ti’i Ti’i a Talaga having travelled far and wide fixed a line to the sun and the stars became firmly set in the heavens that what follows became truth. 

A line penetrates the earth. It runs from a star known in Hawai’i as Hakupa’a to a point that runs off a trail from what is known in Aotearoa as Matua Tonga. It runs true through the centre and it is around this great axis that the stars, the sun and the moon travel in their paths across the heavens. 

When this axis is laid flat on the va’a and halved it becomes the four quarters of Lai, Toelau, Matau Upolu and Tuaoloa, in the Samoan language, and known at the division of the quarters by the names of Matu, Sasa’e, Tonga and Sisifo, the cardinal points. It is in these quarters that the 7 houses of the star trails are marked and which combine with the names of divisions to become the 32 houses in which the star paths are sung to chants and songs which lead to the various homelands of our Pasifika peoples. 

The seven houses in which a star path is marked are Ata, Leo, Tali’ilagi, Manu, Gogo, Aiga and Leo. Two houses up or down of the line dividing the quarters marks the times of the year in which according to a legend of the demi god Maui, and depending on whether Hakupa’a or Matua tonga is most visible, the sun travels slower across the heavens.
Every homeland has a star or group of stars which at its highest point in the night sky leads to that island being able to be fished from the deep of the horizon. For Aotearoa it is Te Matau a Maui, for Hawai’i it is Hokule’a and so it is and has always been for all our homelands. 

To find a homeland one needs to know the stars that rise and fall in line with the great axis and place them in a house to navigate the waters by. A succession of stars is known and needed and it is these that were sung by the ancestors as songs and chants that tied the stars to the land. Of such songs, many are now hidden in the mind’s eye of those chosen to keep the sacred fires of ancient knowledge burning. 

For that select few skilled in the ways of old and schooled in the paths of the stars much is also needed to know of the long tides that run deep in the waters, how the clouds form in the heavens, from whence the birds fly to and from and where it is that the sun and moon travel on their paths from dawn horizon to dusk. 

Now, in this time, it is for those who sail the seven sisters of Te Mana o Te Moana that the stories and songs are being written by, and of, on many such things as these. Songs and stories to be passed on for future generations to sing and tell to replace the old that were forgotten in myth and legend. 

It is for them, the honour of our ancestors and for the glory of IO the hidden with many names that we do this... 

Robbie ma le Aiga Folau o Gaualofa 

1 comment:

  1. Brother! That is beautiful! I want to learn these traditions. How can I get some time on Gaulalofa? Hope to hear from you soon.