Canoes and Sailing

“Ko te iwi te wairua o te waka, ko te waka te wairua o te iwi” The people are the spirit of the waka; the waka is the spirit of the people. Maori saying

Vakas were (and still are) of great importance to Pacific peoples. In the past, they were the way to travel, trade, and get food. They were part of stories and the work of everyday life. The whole community had huge respect for them. The Pacific peoples developed different types of canoes and ways of sailing for different purposes.

In Aotearoa GLOSSARY Aotearoa - New Zealand , one of the last places to be settled GLOSSARY settled - came to and occupied in the Pacific, every Maori iwi (tribe) is connected to the crew of one of the big canoes that first arrived there. This is the starting point of their whakapapa (family line, history). Waka GLOSSARY Waka - Maori word for voyaging canoe , the word for canoe, can be used in many different ways - for example, to mean a project or voyage done together, both physical and spiritual.

Being both a wayfinder and a senap

Satawalese senap (master canoe builder) Edward Remoi

“If you want to learn how to be a wayfinder, then you also have to learn how to make a canoe. The two are related: navigation and canoe making. It is good to be both a wayfinder and a senap. Otherwise people may say, "You just know how to navigate, but you don't know how to make a canoe." Also you will have to borrow a canoe. But if the people you ask don't lend it, then you will not be able to travel anywhere. If they don't want to lend their canoe, what are you going to do?”

“From The Vaka Taumako Project.”