Canoes bring people together | Pacific Voyagers


Canoes bring people together

We On Te Matau a Maui are fortunate to be able to share our experience with many brothers and sisters from the different voyaging communities. On this leg from Samoa to Fiji, one of the fastest runs we have enjoyed as a fleet yet, we have had 4 members of the fijian ndrua (voyaging canoe) Uto Ni Yalo,  sailing with us. To be able to take these brothers and one sister back to their home islands has been a real privilege. Also traveling with Te Matau is a crew member from the voyaging community of Makalii. Kala Thomas goes back with some of us a long way, and having him on board is like having the whole Makalii ohana with us. I leave you with Kala to share with you, in his own words his experience with Te Mana O Te Moana

This voyage has been an amazing learning experience for one coming from the voyaging ohana in Hawaii. Coming from Makalii there are a lot of similarities between my mama canoe and Te Matau a Maui. For example we cleat off our lines the same way, we pule before eating, and the spirit of this waka and the crew feels very familiar. I feel very much at home with the hoe in my hands as we speed across the sea to our next destination.
And Te Matau should feel like an extension of Makalii! Many of the crew I have known for years and it has been great to finally sail together with Pat, Gina, Uncle Hotu and Aunty Michelle. Good to sail again with Frank, and of course it is always good to sail with my brother Nick. I think I can still count on one hand the number of times I haven’t sailed with him! However the best part of this voyage for me has been making new friends not only on Te Matau but throughout the fleet. It’s nice to make connections with people from all around the Pacific and the world, people who come from many different backgrounds and who have come together for a common cause. No matter where they come from, canoes have a tendency to bring people together.

I have to say that I am pretty much ruined. Spoiled rotten by so much space on deck, a dry bunk to sleep on, a toilet to sit on, solar powered motors, gadgets galore, and probably some of the best food I have ever eaten at sea (Mahalo Liam!). At least the sea water bucket showers are still the same!

There has still been a learning curve though and I have to say that it has been a good one. Trimming our sails for maximum efficiency, discipline in steering a straight line even in the middle of the day or on the darkest stormy night (I’m looking at you Niue), knowing when to speak up or just shut yo mouth… all these things and more make the difference in arriving quickly and safely at the islands we visit.

I am very appreciative of the past connections made with the whanau from Aotearoa as well as new connections made in Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Samoa and Fiji. It is my hope that these connections will be strengthened in the coming years as Hokulea and Makalii once again return to the South Pacific.

I am currently multitasking: living the dream and writing this blog as Te Mana o Te Moana approaches Ovalau in Fiji. A few days of rest are in order before the hook of Maui is once again cast over the horizon to pull another island up from the sea. Eo Makali! Eo Te

Matau! Eo Te Mana o Te Moana!
Te Matau standing by 69.

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