Vaka Motu | Pacific Voyagers

Vaka Motu

General Overview

The Vaka Motu is designed for inter-island cargo and passenger transportation as well as fishery operations and disaster relief work.

The main impetus behind the Vaka Motu was to develop a typical working boat for the Pacific that can be built and operated by the islanders themselves. The typical distance for inter-island traffic is 50 to 100 nm, but the vessel is also capable of long open ocean crossings.

The Vaka Motu requires no use of fossil energy as it is purely wind and solar powered. Just like the Vaka Moana, the Vaka Motu is based on the traditional double-hulled Polynesian sailing canoe design. However, in contrast to traditional vaka their hulls are made of E-Glass and Epoxy Resin. The fibreglass production is simple and can be handed over easily to local craftsmen after adequate training as the construction of the hulls is done with a mould that is easily transportable in small containers.

Its shallow 0.8m draft makes it possible to sail across shallow lagoons and to easily land on beaches. It is steered by a traditional wood steering paddle (hoi). Like the Vaka Moana, our Vaka Motu have a multi-purpose boom that can be used as a crane to assist loading and unloading of cargo, and all beams are connected to the hulls through traditional lashings.

The Vaka Motu is a very versatile vessel and can be used for many purposes, i.e. to bring goods from remote outer islands to the central markets, for disaster relief work, for coastal fishing operations, for noise-free whale watching and sightseeing tours for tourists and it could even operate as a floating school bus. It provides an economic and environment-friendly transportation system for people and products on the islands while fostering cultural revival, educational opportunities and community empowerment.

Pacific Voyagers operates two Vaka Motu, Okeanos and Rangi. Both have been tested intensely in different Pacific island regions to determine their usability and practicability for disaster relief work, passenger and cargo transportation and scientific and governmental work. They proofed to be very reliable, versatile and well-accepted by the Pacific islanders.

Based on these experiences and testing a comprehensive Safety and Training Manual was compiled. This manual is a reference for all crew. In addition there is a Manual for the Solar Electric Drive Train System of the Vaka Motu which was developed by Naval DC, a specialist for electric propulsion based in The Netherlands.

The enthusiasm and interest in the Vaka Motu is tremendous in all the places we visited, and plans are being developed to start with the first local construction.


Vaka Motu: A Vessel for Inter-Island Transport and Disaster Relief Work

Pacific Voyagers’ Vaka Motu Promotion

The Vaka Motu Project: A Pilot Study of Sustainable Transportation in Fiji

Introduction to the Vaka Motu ‘Okeanos’

Vaka Motu ’Okeanos’ launching


Inter-Island transport in Fiji powered by renewable energy

Small island developing States: Challenges in transport and trade logistics

Safety and Training Manual Vaka Motu

Manual for the Solar Electric Drive Train System

Designed by