12 Apr 2010

Vaka fleet set to voyage through Polynesia

1:50 pm on 12 April 2010

A fleet of four vaka from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands is finalising preparations to depart Auckland on a Pacific voyage to Tahiti on Wednesday.

From Tahiti, the fleet will sail to Rarotonga, Samoa and Fiji and the return journey is expected to take two months.

Magnus Danbolt, the skipper of the New Zealand vaka, Te Matua a Maui, says crews are excited and looking forward to the first part of the journey that's expected to take several weeks.

"From a voyaging point of view its very very important. It's linking in New Zealand with Tahiti with Cook Island, Samoa and Fiji and its actually the first time that four canoes leaves New Zealand to go up to Tahiti in one leg."

Magnus Danbolt says they to aim to draw attention to environmental issues affecting the ocean, such as pollution, climate change and habitat destruction.

The project was initiated and funded by a German philanthropic organisation Okeanos, which supports environmental issues.