Pacific Voyagers are setting sails for new ventures with Okeanos | Pacific Voyagers


Pacific Voyagers are setting sails for new ventures with Okeanos

Dear Friends of Pacific Voyagers,

We are so proud of the renaissance in vaka culture that we have collectively inspired and lived across the great Pacific region. Together we embrace a vision for a holistic, sustainable, fossil fuel free future for the Pacific Islands built upon respect for traditional knowledge and environmental stewardship.

Most of you have been following our activities over the last couple of years, via this newsletter, Facebook or in person. We feel very privileged and happy to have you in our large Pacific Voyagers community and to know that you share our love and passion for the ocean and traditional sailing with vakas.

Pacific Voyagers vaka moana fleet in Bora Bora/Tahiti, 2012  Picture: Rui Camilo

Pacific Voyagers vaka moana fleet in Bora Bora/Tahiti, 2012. Picture: Rui Camilo

Now we set our sails for new ventures initiated by the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea and its recently funded local companies in the Pacific. This partnership is a culmination of what we started more than six years ago beginning with the Te Mana Te Moana voyage, and it now provides actions to further promote fossil fuel-free ocean voyaging across the Pacific. It also addresses the urgent challenges that the Pacific Islands are currently facing as one of the world’s most vulnerable areas to rising sea levels, working to establish strong and effective measures for climate change preparedness and disaster relief. This international partnership has only been possible through years of close cooperation between Okeanos Foundation for the Sea and Pacific Voyagers, working side-by-side to establish a vaka culture network across the Pacific.

This past February 2016, representatives from voyaging societies throughout the Pacific met with Okeanos leadership at Salthouse boatyard in Auckland. In discussing best future steps, the Pacific islands expressed their wish that expanded vaka activities be represented under the name ‘Okeanos’ which has become synonymous with the union of traditional knowledge and future solutions. As a result, we have decided to close the Pacific Voyagers website and we invite you all to join us and continue following our activities as the newly rebranded Okeanos Foundation for the Sea.

Pacific Voyagers and Okeanos meeting in Auckland, February 2016

Pacific Voyagers and Okeanos meeting in Auckland, February 2016

The Okeanos Foundation for the Sea was funded in 2007 by Dieter Paulmann. During the first years of operation Okeanos’ work was focused on the support of a variety of ocean advocacy, research and communication projects. Starting in 2010, Okeanos also began working with many voyaging societies in order to learn from the ancient wisdom and knowledge of Pacific Islanders to develop and build ocean voyaging canoes called ‘Vaka Moana’. This resulted in a close cooperation between Okeanos and the local Pacific voyaging societies and our epic ‘Te Mana o Te Moana’ voyage. Our strong ties and close cooperation continues to this day.

The agenda of the Pacific Voyagers meeting in February included learning more about our new Vaka Motu with a coconut oil engine. Representatives from the different Pacific voyaging societies gave reports about the status of their Vaka Moana activities. Overall, we discussed the future strategy for implementing the Vaka Motu and possibly the Vaka Hapua, a vessel for inter-lagoon transportation, in general sea transport operations, as well as the future boat building and crew trainings in the Pacific and necessary organizational and legal requirements.

Vaka Motu 'Okeanos Aotearoa', 2016  Picture: Dena Seidel

Vaka Motu ‘Okeanos Aotearoa’, 2016. Picture: Dena Seidel

As a result of this meeting, Okeanos reinforced its determination and mission to implement a fossil fuel free inter-island vaka network throughout the Pacific and to support the climate change preparedness of Pacific Islands through innovative and transformative community led solutions. Okeanos’ mission video explains our work and way forward, and we also invite you to visit our new website which was launched at the beginning of this month:

Finally we invite you to subscribe to the Okeanos newsletter in order to keep updated about our projects and the activities of our local organizations and the Pacific voyaging societies. The spirit of Pacific Voyagers will move on forever, and we hope that you will continue to follow and support the work of Okeanos with the same heart and spirit as to date.

The team of Okeanos & Pacific Voyagers

Vaka Moana fleet in Tahiti

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