The Canoe Is the People
Indigenous Navigation in the Pacific
Maori master canoe builder, Hekenukumai Busby (New Zealand)
Since my first time in Hawaii, my friends know I build these canoes because I felt... I feel a great debt for the things they have shown us. I believe without the Hawaiians and Mau Piailug sharing their navigational knowledge we would be in a state of ignorance today. But today this knowledge is strong and will never be lost again. The outcome is that we are now teaching young people things like navigation and sailing.
Voyages and Revival
In parts of the Pacific, especially Micronesia, much navigational knowledge has been kept alive. In others, it has been lost.
Now, all over the Pacific, there is a growing revival. There are now many voyaging societies, including those in Hawaii, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Aotearoa GLOSSARY Aotearoa - New Zealand , and the Marshall Islands. People are making more and more voyages in traditional canoes - rediscovering the past and carving the way to the future. New schools are being started to teach navigation to young people.
Sometimes, European ways are used - like teaching with books, building canoes with modern tools, navigating with the help of western maps and compasses, and using inboard motors and escort boats GLOSSARY escort boats - modern boats that follow a canoe for support. People have different opinions about these things, but everyone has the same aim - to keep the traditional knowledge alive and hand it down to the young navigators of the future.