Submitted by admin on Wed, 09/09/2015 - 20:17
September 9, 2015 by admin
General News
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) was the site of the movie launch of 'Te Mana O Te Moana', a documentary film that chronicles an 18 month voyage of seven canoes across the Pacific. Starting in 2011, the canoes embarked on a voyage to spread the message of respect for our Pacific ocean and to honour and revive the Pacific traditions of sailing and navigation.

Held on Friday night in partnership with Conservation International, the special movie launch event helped to raise funds of WST 2,000 for the Gaualofa, a traditional voyaging canoe maintained by the Samoa Voyaging Society.

"The film provided us with a visible insight of the impact our lifestyles are having upon our Ocean. It invokes a sense of ownership and inspired the need for us all to work together to address the reality of marine litter," said Mr David Sheppard, Director General of SPREP.

"Working together with our Pacific voyagers as they navigate out on the open ocean, embracing environmental leadership in the way they respect our waters is an honour for us."

svs1Crew of the Gaualofa sharing their voyaging experiences
Schannel van Dijken, fellow voyager and Senior Marine Manager from Conservation International added: "The key messages from this documentary, were that we are all connected - people and nature, the old ways and the new, science and spirit – and that we need to honour, respect and cultivate these connections in order to thrive in harmony with our environment."

"The traditional voyaging canoe, a Pacific cultural icon, is the ideal platform for carrying this message to the rest of the world. I have seen the voyaging canoes, such as our own Samoan Va'a, the Gaualofa, open hearts when it sails into Pacific communities, and these open hearts, open ears and minds to the messages that the environmentally aware crew have to share."

The Samoa Voyaging Society was established in 2009 when the Okeanos Foundation gifted them the "Gaualofa", a 22metre long double-hulled traditional voyaging canoe. The Gaualofa was one of seven canoes built in partnership with the Okeanos Foundation and the Pacific islands including Samoa.

Since 2010, SPREP and Conservation International have worked together with the crew of the Gaualofa, helping them to strengthen their role as Ambassadors of the Environment. Having been on several different voyages since 2010, the crew have consistently promoted ocean conservation and cultural preservation, a message that is strengthened in the movie 'Te Mana O Te Moana'.

The crew of the Pacific canoes featured in the film range in age and experience, they share one voice and one vision, drawing on the lessons of their past, the voyagers aim to chart a bold new course – steering the people of the Pacific toward a sustainable future. Founded in strong pacific cultural roots and reviving ancient traditions, the canoe and its crew are powerful messengers for this vision.

Ambassador of Japan to Samoa, H.E Kazumasa Shibuta

The special event was a popular one featuring guest speakers including the Vice Patron of the Samoan Voyaging Society, Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale; followed by David Sheppard, the Director General of SPREP; Schannel van Dijken, Senior Marine Program Manager of Conservation International; and the Ambassador of Japan to Samoa, H.E. Kazumasa Shibuta - who encouraged the Samoan Voyaging Society to "keep doing what you do!"

Also present at the movie launch and fundraiser were the crew of the Gaualofa who shared their voyaging experiences with the audience.

All funds raised from the special fundraising event will go towards supporting the upkeep and maintenance of the Gaualofa, as she continues her mission to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Should you wish to show support for the Samoa Voyaging Society as they continue to promote environmental conservation and cultural preservation you can donate, book a cruise on the Gaualofa or become a member of SVS, and support their important mission to care for the Pacific Ocean and to honour and revive the Pacific traditions of sailing and navigation.  To get involved, please visit the Samoan Voyagers Society Facebook page or contact the Samoan Voyaging Society secretariat at: [email protected]