[Translate to espanol:] A Canoe is launched for the Pacific

Left to Right: Margaret Austin, Dwight Alexander, Ro Teimumu Vuikaba Kepa

'Waita' (song) performed by the full Maori delegation

On 12 October 2005, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Palau hosted an unusual event at UNESCO that drew a large group of curious people eager to witness the launch of a Pacific canoe.

The evening began with a powerful Maori 'mihi' (welcome) by Tata Lawton, followed by a 'waita' (song) performed by the full Maori delegation. While the opening ceremony was executed according to appropriate protocol, the canoe being launched proved to be of a most unconventional nature.

This canoe was not constructed by a master craftsman or carved out of wood. Neither was it released into the sea, as the nearest coast is at least 200 km away from Paris. Instead, this was the launch of a small metallic CD-ROM that had taken 4 years of passionate work to produce. It is filled with indigenous Pacific Islander knowledge about the ocean environment and navigation, and destined to travel across the world, not on the traditional swells of an ocean, but on the electronic waves of a computer.

Speakers at the launch provided further insights into the make-up and aspirations of this unusual vessel entitled The Canoe Is the People.


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