Pacific Voyaging began when the world’s first seafarers set off in vaka moanas, ocean canoes, from Asia, most likely Taiwan, in the hopes of finding other lands. They found New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands first. Thousands of years later, the ancestors continued their journey and within 2500 years they reached the more remote Hawaiian Islands, Rapanui, and Aotearoa, establishing communities at each location with the root crops, fruit seeds, and domestic animals they carried on their voyage.
Our brave voyaging ancestors used only Mother Nature to guide them on their journey. Using only the sun, the stars, wind, waves, clouds, and wildlife as guides, they successfully sailed across the Pacific Ocean and settled our lands. This way of navigating was on the brink of extinction until one individual began to revive the artful skill. Pius Mau Piailug, a Micronesian navigator, afraid of his people losing this skill as a result of westernization, brought his skills to the Polynesian Voyaging Society. He, along with his protégé, Hawaiin Nainoa Thompson, began to revive the skill. In 1976, they successfully sailed the Hokule’a. Today, we continue reviving this cultural tradition. The crews on our seven vaka moanas learn this skill, honing the craft throughout their journey. We feel honoured to continue in the wake of our ancestors, learning from their ancient wisdom, and venturing forth into the future with a new mission of healing our ocean and a rejuvenated Te Mana o Te Moana, the Spirit of the Sea.