09.01.2012 - UNESCO Office in Apia

“Gaualofa” Crew Voyaging across the Pacific

Gaualofa(c)Rui Camilo

The Patron of Aiga Folau o Samoa (Samoa Voyaging Society), His Highness the Head of State, Afioga Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi and the Honorable Prime Minister of Samoa, Susuga Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Aiono Sa’ilele Malielegaoi receive courtesy farewell visits from the crew of Samoa’s va’atele (ocean going traditional canoe) “Gaualofa” on Tuesday 10th January 2012.

The crew of Gaualofa are busy preparing for a 20,000km long voyage across the Pacific from California departing on January 23, 2012. Gaualofa, along with voyaging canoes from other Pacific islands including Fiji, the Cook Islands and New Zealand, is currently in San Diego,  their final port of call after last year's voyage across the Pacific from Samoa to Auckland, Tahiti, Hawaii and on to North America. 

The main purpose of the voyage is to raise environmental awareness on the fragility of the Pacific Ocean and to revive traditional navigation and sailing techniques in the Pacific. The voyaging fleet, called “Te Mana o Te Moana” (Spirit of the Ocean) will make the following stops on the journey from San Diego- Cabo San Lucas (Mexico)- Cocos Islands (Costa Rica)- Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)- French Polynesia- Cook Islands- Tonga- Samoa- Fiji- Vanuatu ending with the Pacific Arts Festival in Honiara, Solomon Islands in July 2012.

The seven traditional voyaging canoes are planning to time their visit to Samoa to participate in the 50th Independence Celebrations in early June, on their way to the Solomon Islands. From the Solomon Islands Gaualofa will return to Samoa, arriving in August 2012 and the other va’a will also return to their home ports.

You can follow Gaualofa’s journey on the blogsite

The journey of “Gaualofa” received support from the Government of Samoa and other sponsors.  It was also supported by the UNESCO Apia Office within the framework of the Education for Sustainable Development and Intangible Cultural Heritage safeguarding.  For more information see the article in UNESCO Voices Newsletter No. 28.

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