May 8, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Historical Maori voyage in progress

3 min read

Not since the Great Migration 700 years ago has a fleet of waka sailed together from Raiatea (Avaiki) ancestral homeland of the Eastern Polynesian people – to Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

5 waka are taking part in this significant Voyage:

  • Marumaru Atua Cook Islands
  • Te Matau a Maui Aotearoa
  • Uto Ni Yalo Fiji
  • Hine Moana Samoa, Tonga & Vanuatu
  • Faafaite Tahiti

Four traditional double hull canoes left Aotearoa on April 18th and sailed to Tahiti (where they will be joined by the Tahitian Vaka ), then on to the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji & back to Aotearoa. It is intended that after the fleet arrives at Rarotonga, Marumaru Atua will stay, Faafaite will return to Tahiti , Uto Ni Yalo will return to Fiji & Hinemoa & Te Matau a Maui will return to Aotearoa.

The purpose of this 3 month voyage for Marumaru Atua is to continue the journey that the Cook Islands Voyaging Society began in 1994which is to revitalise the traditional art of sailing, navigation and canoe-building and to share this knowledge with our pacific brothers & sisters in a spirit of polynesian kinship.

Marumaru Atua (translation: under the protection of God ) is proudly leading the fleet in the voyage to Tahiti utilizing the traditional navigational knowledge of the senior crew members.

The voyage is also about creating awareness of environmental issues faced by the Pacific peoples – issues of global warming & climate change, ocean noise, pollution, over fishing, coral degradation.

The 22 metre canoes are modeled on the Cook Islands traditional double-hulled canoe Te Au O Tonga and were built by Salthouse Boatbuilders in Auckland with the help of Cook Islands traditional boat building expertise. The Project was funded by the Okeanos Foundation.

Details can be found on the cook island voyaging website at

You can check on line for the most recent updates on the website and there are incredible photos from the launch and the current journey (MEAN!!), here is the latest entry from May 3rd:

And so we tow. Overnight the wind left us and although still moving it was decided that with such a short distance to go we would get a helping hand from the escort vessels and cover the last hundred or so miles under tow.

We expect to arrive on raivavae on wednesday morning.

  • current position at 1800 on 3/5: South 24deg 58.5 West 149deg 27.3 heading 060 at about 8 knots

the whole day has stayed clear and flat. we had a beautiful sunset and successful cake recovery mission.
Our towing vessel, ‘Evohe’ baked a couple of cakes,sealed them in tins and floated them back to us on a boogie board.
We in turn eased them back to Uto ni Yalo (we are towing 2 vaka behind each support boat).
About half way back to Uto things took an interesting turn when the boogie board disappeared below the surface and didn’t come back up. After a good 10 minutes and complete reduction in speed it re-surfaced in just about the right place and the cake was rescued. Unbelievably it was not as moist as we imagined and was pronounced a successful and adventurous cake after it’s 5 meter descent into the depths. A testament to the wrapping and sealing skills of the bakers.

all good here despite some frustration at the lack of wind and need to be towed.


2 thoughts on “Historical Maori voyage in progress

  1. they are nearly at their destination i have been getting updates from a mate who has a whanau member on board the marumaruatua

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