[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Around 800 years ago, the noble Samoan warrior Karika was one of Polynesia’s great seafarers, an explorer who regarded the Pacific Ocean without fear – a moving, fluid highway to sail upon and discover new lands. Legend says that Karika left his home island of Manua, east of Samoa, with 140 warriors onboard two vaka Te Au O Tonga and Te Au Ki Iti. When Karika left Manua with his two vaka, it was for the last time.
One of the ancient seafarer’s modern-day descendants is Kamoe Mataiapo – Ian Karika. Ian is part of the Cook Islands traditional ocean voyaging team who attributes his longing to sail the Pacific using traditional methods to his ancestor. Ian, President of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society is a seasoned sailor.
Gifted in performing arts and renowned for his fire dancing skills, Ian was approached almost 20 years ago by Cook Islands traditional navigator Tua Pittman to help with the construction of vaka Te Au O Tonga, for its inaugural voyage to Hawaii. Sir Thomas Davis was largely responsible for the revival of traditional sailing in the Cook Islands and for designing and building both Takitumu and Te Au O Tonga.
The decision to swap performing arts for voyaging was not difficult for Ian and one that has been “very fulfilling” since. Ian says that our ancient voyagers were intrepid, they did not see the oceans as a barrier but more of a pathway. There was never any fear of being lost at sea while armed with their traditional navigation, and the joy of discovering new islands. In 2010 Ian sailed on board replica of Te Au O Tonga, Marumaru Atua from Auckland to Cook Islands with Uto Ni Yalo, Faafaite and Gaualofa, and that was the beginning of the four year Te Mana O Te Moana Voyage, funded by the Pacific Voyagers Foundation. In 2012 the foundation gifted the vaka to the people of the Cook Islands.
Ian’s last voyage was sail back from Suwarrow in 2013. Asked why it was important that the Cook Island Vaka (traditional boat) the Marumaru Atua collected the team from Suwarrow? “For the eradication team it wasn’t important, but for the Vaka crew and Cook Island community it was”, said Ian. “This is because Marumaru Atua’s role is to raise environmental awareness. For the crew to be involved in the baiting and support the conservation work raises the prominence of these issues in the Cook Islands”.
Kamoe Mataiapo Ian Karika devotes his time to the Takitumu Conservation Area and to vaka Marumaru Atua.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”td-default”][/vc_column][/vc_row]