The Association Faafaite i te Ao Maohi is a non-profit organization created in March of 2009 and registered in Papeete, Tahiti (French Polynesia). In French, we use the term “association” because it is an association of over twenty other local non-profit organizations as well as individual members.
While diverse projects centered around the Polynesian voyaging canoe have existed in Tahiti over the years, none have managed to stay active and viable over the long term. When the ground work for Pacific Voyagers was being laid by our Polynesian cousins in the Cook Islands and New Zealand with the support of Okeanos, an invitation to participate in the project was the seen as a new chance to create something lasting for future generations of Maohi.
In a nutshell, the goal of Faafaite i te Ao Maohi (or just Faafaite for short), is to help renew ancestral navigational techniques, that is, without instruments. This is a long term goal which provides a framework for much, much more. The stated mission of Faafaite is:
- To contribute to all actions aiming to develop traditional Maohi navigation
- To contribute to all actions aiming to spread the cultural values of the Maohi
- To contribute to the protection of the marine environment
- To organize open ocean voyages
- To create and maintain a traditional sailing school
This framework aims to guide us as we renew our ties with our heritage and environment. Faafaite means reconciliation and it is a reconciliation with nature, our culture and heritage which are the soul of the association. The canoe is but one vehicle, one means by which we aim to achieve this reconciliation of man and nature and of our “modern” generation with the knowledge and wisdom of our ancestors.
Faafaite returns to Tahiti during 2010 Tavaru (the island of Moorea is in the background)