The Aiga Folau o Samoa, the Samoa Voyaging Society, has brought Samoa’s va’atele, the Gaualofa back to Samoa.
They return after a five-month voyage to and around New Zealand to strengthen ties with the New Zealand based Samoan community and Maori iwi.
Gaualofa left Samoa in December 2017 to New Zealand and arrived back to Samoan waters on 22nd of May and to Apia on 25th of May.
Gaualofa and the crew were welcomed home at the Apia Beach front by its supporters.
During the stay in New Zealand Gaualofa underwent some needed maintenance work.
The highlight of the voyage was Gaualofa’s participation in the opening event “A Waka Odyssey” of the New Zealand Festival where the story of Kupe’s landing was retold.
Gaualofa also visited Samoan and local Maori communities during the circumnavigation of the North Island of New Zealand to promote Samoa’s and the Pacific’s traditional sailing and navigation culture and the conservation, protection, and preservation of the Pacific ocean and island environments.
On the 3rd of May, the Gaualofa and crew departed New Zealand for the voyage back to Samoa.
On the way Gaualofa stopped for three days in Vavau, Tonga.
For the remainder of the year, Gaualofa will be in Samoa and visit communities with a newly developed Environmental Education Outreach Programme.
The Samoa Voyaging Society will conduct this programme with partners Conservation International, Samoa Conservation Society, Youth Climate Action Network, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.), Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.), Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C. - education and cultural divisions), National University of Samoa (N.U.S.), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (S.P.R.E.P), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (U.N.E.S.C.O.) and Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O.).
“The Samoa Voyaging Society is extremely grateful to our generous sponsors and supporters including New Zealand Festival, Embassy of the Peoples of the Republic of China in Samoa, NZ High Commission, Matson, Molida Shipping, Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA), Conservation International, Okeanos Foundation for the Sea and South Pacific Timbers.
“Not forgetting Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, Te Toki Voyaging Trust & Haunui Crew, Aqua Samoa, Apia Yacht Club, Mailelani, CCK, Independent Maori Statutory Board, Ngati Whatua Orakei, Orakei Marine, Half- Moon Bay Marina, The Boat Builders, Wikuki Kingi, Ivon Duurloo, Samoa Port Authority, Quarantine Division Samoa, Trevor Meredith (S.P.A.), National Kidney Foundation, N.U.S. Students and Dr. Malama, Lee Transport and all Samoa Voyaging Societys’ crew families, members and supporters.”