An invisible hand is at work | Pacific Voyagers


An invisible hand is at work

I have lost track of the number of days we’ve been out at sea… it’s not many but one can easily forget as all focus turns toward the duties of the Waka.

I am aboard Te Matau a Maui with skipper Frank , who I first met in San Francisco last August when the Waka came to visit. I am also on board with Tiaki, who many back home remember as he and Maddy shared a bit of their story with you all.

Everyone on board Te Matau o Maui has been very welcoming, helpful and patient as they show this green horn (rookie) the ways of the waka. It’s through their teachings, and my experience with them that i can begin to see a sense of unity and a story unfold.

In our western world we seem to have forgotten our own stories of old… as we obsess more with creating a technological future… with little thought to our environment and our oceans.

Though some of the crew hail from Germany, Hawai’i, Fiji and California, the crew is predominantly Maori from Aotearoa. They are young, strong and intellectual… well versed in the ways of the sea… and with a profound respect and concern for the ocean… the Pacific.

Their unity with their culture and traditions is solid as demonstrated in many ways. One is the task at hand for each vaka in the fleet, to create their own personal story banner once we arrive at the Cook Islands. The past few days Te Matau a Maui was heavily dedicated and engaged in the effort, and i was keen to see how their culture… their traditions… their stories will carry them well into the future. It is because their traditions are centric to their surrounding environment and serves as a bridge to govern both their present and future socio and economic models.

This model is contrary to most in the western world as we have not only lost touch with our ancient cultures and traditions we have lost touch with nature… our environment. What we have is an academic sense and do not live our traditions like the Maori. We have forgotten all meaning of nature, nor do we see nature like the Maori.

But all is not lost. This journey is allowing many of us, from all over the world, to create new stories and traditions to again re-align us with the environment, for a sustainable future.

All it takes is our vision and actions to share all what we have seen, and to show the world we do care and respect the life sustaining Pacific for all.

Bernie Bernal
On board Te Matau a Maui
May 14, 2012

Sometimes we are fortunate to be able to share our experiences first hand with others.
Bernie Bernal was part of the organising committee that hosted us in San Francisco. Now he is part of the voyage itself. A part of this journey we call Te Mana o te Moana. As we depart Aitutaki for Rarotonga after soaking in the aroha and manaakitanga of the Motu. We are again blessed with a visitor. Local Elder Rata Ramea aged 80yrs joins us on Te Matau a Maui for the over night sail to Rarotonga. The name Rata is well known to Maori as a famous ancestor from  Hawaiiki, renown for building canoes. It seems appropriate that our visitor is so named. It turns out the matua Rata is also the brother in law of the late Pene Mamaku, a Ngati Awa elder who had close conections to the voyaging waka Te Aurere. These little ‘tohu’ or signs may seem co incidental, but I like to think that sometimes things have a way of happening for a reason we may not see or understand. Perhaps the waka has a hand in seeing who may visit and sail, if only for a night. ‘Tikina ki te Wao tapu’ (fetched from the sacred forest)


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