Vaka 8_Sydney Harbour © Stuart Chape

For Pacific Islanders the ‘vaka’ or traditional voyaging canoe is as much a symbol of hope for the future as it is a reminder of a powerful legacy. The culmination of centuries of innovation and ingenuity, the vaka was the vessel that carried the first explorers into the Pacific and became the foundation upon which the diverse and thriving cultures of the Islands were built. The resurgence of traditional vaka voyaging across the Pacific has driven a cultural revolution. For Pacific Islanders there has been a deep re-connection to this legacy of arguably the greatest feats of seafaring and sailing vessels the world has ever known.

The vakas have formed the platform for the Moana Pasifika message because they have forced people throughout the Pacific to look back to a time when Islanders lived in harmony with every aspect of the ocean, and sustained thriving cultures and societies for thousands of years before European discovery. They have become champions for a sustainable future for the Pacific as they urge the world to protect the Ocean that is at the core of this way of life. Through community outreach and bigger expeditions such as the Mua Voyage to the IUCN World Parks Congress, Sydney 2014, & The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, voyagers and navigators are inspiring people across the World to step up and take real action to save their planet.

Traditional navigators and voyagers have brought Pacific issues into sharp focus and are engaging with solutions in a truly Pacific way. The resurgence of voyaging has reignited a deep pride in the courage and determination of the ancestors who first journeyed these seas, inspiring island nations today to act as navigators of their time, to carry on the legacy of courage and perseverance in charting a new course for the sustainable future of the Pacific Ocean, her islands and her people.