21 Mar 2011

Samoan ocean going canoe welcomed into Auckland

2:32 pm on 21 March 2011

A welcome ceremony has been held this morning in New Zealand for the traditional va'a or double hulled Samoa canoe, the Gaualofa

The vessel, which has just docked in Auckland from Apia, is on a journey to promote traditional marine techniques and conservation.

Skipper Marc Gondard said the crew of 16, ranging in ages from 18 to 50, is learning from experienced traditional sailors.

He said the Gaualofa next month joins four other vessels, including a Fiji crew on board the Uto-ni-Yalo and a mixed crew from Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu on board the Hinemoana.

Mr Gondard said along with two Maori waka they'll sail to Hawaii via the Cook Islands and Tahiti.

"We try to revive traditional navigation, and a few masters will help us to re-appropriate those techniques and that's the main thing.

"The main focus is on traditional sailing alongside environmental awareness," he said.