The Canoe Is the People
Indigenous Navigation in the Pacific
Steering by the Sea, Sun, and Wind
When sailing, wayfinders notice every clue in the environment and don’t take chances. When the stars can’t be seen (in the day or on cloudy nights), other signs can guide them: the sea swells GLOSSARY swells - rolling waves caused by trade winds and storms , the sea marks, the sun, and the wind. A wayfinder visualises these signs in relation to the star positions.
All knowledge is used in an integrated GLOSSARY integrated - whole way. This is the great art of wayfinding.
Tuita’s Finger (Tonga, Polynesia)
Once, the old Tongan wayfinder, Tuita (from the Haa Fokololo oe Hau wayfinder tribe) was voyaging in his kalia (double hull) with the King’s fleet (group of vakas). When the fleet got lost, the King wanted to know where they were. Tuita was old and blind, so he asked his son to tell him what he couldn’t see. Then he put his finger in the sea and tasted the water. He told the King that the water tasted of Fiji… and soon after, the fleet arrived there! The matapule (talking chiefs) of the Tuita tribe are named after this story – fafa ki taha: to touch the sea.