Our Mua Crew

(PWO) Teuatakiri Tearutua Arthur Pittman AKA Tua

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, the eldest of five, whom according to Tua are a “fruit salad” of rich, mixed Polynesian blood, Cook Island-Tahitian on his mother’s side and New Zealand Maori-Cook Islands on his fathers side. Tua’s family relocated to Rarotonga when he was five years old. In 1985 when Tua was 18 years old, Hokulea visited Rarotonga. During the hurricane season that year, Hokulea was left in the hands of Tua and his brothers to keep her safe. When the vaka began voyaging again they invited an indigenous person from each stop along the way and Tua was asked to join. After his first voyage he swore never to go back to sea again. But when the invitation to join the crew from Rangiroa to Hawaii came up, he went. On board was Micronesian Master Navigator Mau Pialug. In 1992 the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands sent out a challenge to all canoes in the region to sail to Rarotonga for the Pacific Arts Festival using non-instrument navigation. Accepting the challenge, the Polynesian Voyaging Society from Hawaii said they would come under one condition, that Cook Island voyagers must learn to navigate their own canoe. On his second trip to Aitutaki onboard Hokulea, Mau handpicked Tua to join Nainoa Thompson and six of his fellow countrymen to learn this ancient tradition. Two decades later and thousands of miles of voyaging, Tua was bestowed the title of Pwo (pronounced Pau) or master navigator by Mau Pialug in Micronesian in 2008. As a thank you to Nainoa and Mau, Tua made a lifelong promise to teach others and continue to nurture this tradition. Throughout the 2010-2012 Te Mana O Te Moana Voyage PWO navigators Tua, Peia and Jacko Thatcher took turns on each of the 7 vaka, working with the new crop of young navigators. The navigator has to memorise up to 200 stars in the sky, differences in constellation, and understand where they are rising from on the star compass. Despite the thousands of miles of voyages, and the opportunities a life at sea has afforded him, the father of five’s ultimate goal in life is simple: to support his remaining four children and to let them know that he is always there, no matter where he actually is.

(PWO) Peia Patai (Tua`ati) AKA Cap 

Several years ago Master Navigator Papa Mau Pialug chose Peia and Tua Pittman who had been studying traditional navigation together for decades to carry the Pwo title. Tua was invested during a ceremony in Pialugs Micronesian island, but Peia was unable to attend. In July 2011 in Kualoa, the birthplace of Hokulea, Peia was invested with the PWO title by Nainoa Thompson amongst his friends and family and PWO navigators. There are only 12 PWO master navigators from the north and south Pacific, two are from the Cook Islands a huge accomplishment for a tiny country. Peia is also one of two Cook Islanders who hold their Yachtmaster Offshore and Ocean certification which is required to captain the vaka. Peia’s family hails from Mauke/Aitutaki. Peia is one of our most experienced voyagers. He has sailed with Hokulea, Te Au O Tonga, Marumaru Atua and recently captained Hawaiian vaka Hikianalia from Rarotonga to Pago Pago. He does not have an easy job, he is responsible for the safety of his crew and vaka. Families and friends, rest assured Peia will keep your loved ones safe and sound! Why does he do it? In Peia’s own words, I don’t have a good answer to that, I guess It’s just something I do. I could be at home having a cold beer with my friends, or time with my family, but when the Vaka is leaving the harbour in Raro I just have to be on her. As a young fella there was a paddle in our home, hanging from the roof, my older brothers, all my family just knew it was mine, why? I don’t know. Its just what I remember, was it a sign? I don’t know, but here I am. When he sails Peia wears his boar tusk around his neck, the significance of the boars tusk he always wears?, when I was first going [on a voyage], Nga Nga said give it to me I will prepare it for your trip. He carved the bone and plaited the necklace, since then (1990’s) I wear it every time, it is part of me, until the voyage is over then back in the cupboard it goes…until the next Voyage. Why is he making this voyage? I know we can’t change the whole world but I do hope that the trip we’re making can help. I hope that one person out of a hundred may see what we’re doing and try to help make a positive change. If that happens I’ll be happy and I know that this trip will be a success. The ocean indicates how healthy we are as a Pacific people. It’s very important that we protect our ocean for the benefit of our children and their children. I can’t do nothing. If I do nothing today, then my kids will blame me tomorrow for not trying to make a difference.

Ashley-Ann Louise Lei Ohu O Kahikina Santos Colburn AKA Ohu

Ohu was born and raised in Hawaii, Ohu comes from the Makalii voyaging family and from there joined Hokulea crew on her first voyage in 2014 from Tahiti-Rarotonga-Aitutaki-Pago Pago with Tua and Peia. Ohu is 22 years old. Ohu is fluent in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, she represents Hawaii with pride!! She is a fantastic ambassador for Makalii and Hawaii.  During her voyage with Tua and Peia she asked if she could join them on Marumaru Atua on the MUA voyage. It is a great pleasure and honour to have Ohu on board representing Makalii family and our polynesian brothers and sisters from Hawaii.

Stewart Ka’onohiaweaweokala Thomas AKA Kala

Kala is 30 years old, born and raised in Hawaii. Kala has sailed in Micronesia in 2007.  In 2012 he joined the Te Matau A Maui vaka on the Te Mana O Te Moana vyage from Tahiti to Fiji.  Kala is also from the Makalii voyaging family and more recently joined Hokulea on the Malama Honua World Wide voyage from Tahiti-Rarotonga-Aitutaki-Pago Pago with Tua and Peia.  He is a skilled in canoe building and lashing and sail repairs.   In his words, he wanted to sail on board Marumaru Atua to strengthen the friendships built during the Te Moana O Te Moana voyage and the Malama Honua Voyage. He wanted to reconnect with Tangaroa, meet new people and learn new things.  He is keen to continue developing his sailing skills and knowledge in order the strengthen his own wa’a and communities back home in Hawaii.  He would also like to represent Hawaii on this voyage to raise awareness on the plight of our oceans.  Kala and Ohu joined Marumaru Atua in Sydney.  It is a pleasure and honour to have Kala sailing on board Marumaru Atua representing his brothers and sisters from Hawaii.

Luther Berg

At 25 years of age, born in Waihi, Aotearoa very talented young tattooist. Luther hails from the Ngati Karika and Ngati Robati families. Funny story about Luther, back in July the Exec of CIVS was sitting around the monument for the 1992 Pacific Arts festival and we had a dilemma, we didn’t have enough crew to help us take MMA out to meet Hokulea and Hikianalia. Luther was sitting at the Mooring (probably just finished one of their WORLD famous FOBS), and we thought, hey lets ask Luther, Luther had sailed with us one afternoon with Terii Pittman a while back. Anyway we called out to him, hey Luther you wanna come sailing? Yeah bro, I’m keen as!! 5 weeks later Luther left on his maiden voyage!! So proud of him. Why did Luther want to sail on Marumaru Atua? In his words… to grow, to experience and learn ancient methods of seafaring. To travel vast distances without fossil fuel dependency and to share ideas of conservation with like minded people. To better myself and my peers!!

Steven Daniel

The oldest member of our crew, Steven Daniel, AKA Steve or Steak. Born and raised in Ngatangiia, Rarotonga.  Steve hails from the Kirikava Atai family of Aitutaki and the Ngati Kainuku of Takitumu from the Koropuaka line. Steve by day is a fisherman and farmer. Steve has sailed with Te Au O Tonga for many years and but more recently Marumaru Atua and also with Te Matau a Maui. Steve has sailed to Tahiti, Marquesas, Hawaii, San Francisco, Monteray, Los Angeles, Mexico, Coco Islands, Galapagos, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomons with the Te Mana O Te Moana Voyage. When Steve heard the call for this voyage there was no question, he had to go, voyaging is in his blood. It’s good to have Steve back on board as one of our senior more experienced voyagers.

Temanava Elizabeth Terito Macquarie

Known as Terito, is the youngest of our three female crew. She was born in Auckland, Aotearoa and just recently turned 23 years. Terito’s great grandmother was the late Makea Teremoana Ariki and her great grandfather was the late Kainuku Taupuru Ariki. She has strong connections to Makea Ariki of Te Au O Tonga and Kainuku Ariki of Takitumu. Terito having spent her younger years overseas for her education saw her return to the Cook Islands as an opportunity to learn and reconnect with her culture through voyaging. Terito started training late last year and this is her first voyage. This year she also joined the Vaka Takitumu Cultural Dance Team for the first time this year. In her words, this is my first voyage and to join this particular voyage is appropriate due to the message we are carrying and in particular the whole idea behind the MUA Voyage and the World Parks Congress. Not only do I strongly support protecting our environment but also continuing to keep my culture strong through learning traditional navigation and voyaging that has been passed from generations to generations.

Elijah-James Hanita Pakoti

James, was born in Moonee Ponds, Australia and is the younger brother of Jamaal. James is one of 4 brothers and 5 sisters, his family hails from Takuvaine, Happy Valley, and he recently played in the Rugby Grand finals when the Takuvaine Reds scored a 34-0 victory over the Avatiu Eels taking out the trophy for the second year running. He is the baby of the crew just turned 22 years. He joined Marumaru Atua when he was barely 18, and like his brother has clocked up more nautical miles than most people would amass in a lifetime!! He put his sailing career on hold to pursue his rugby career, but when he heard about this voyage, he dropped everything and flew home to join the crew. When James first joined Marumaru Atua he was very envious of the nicknames all the old school sailors had earned, Steak, Ninja, Snake… he wanted a cool nickname too, and from that moment he was known only as “Sausage”!!! or is it “Blackbeard”

Jamaal Konito Daniel Pakoti 

At just 26-years-oldor “Jahjah” has clocked up more nautical miles than most people would amass in a lifetime. Jah was born in Tokoroa, Aotearoa, but has his roots in the village of Takuvaine. He has completed around three years in total of traditional voyaging on Marumaru Atua joining the vaka in 2010, and is working towards his completing his training to be a certified Captain. Jah is also one of two Cook Island apprentice navigator. Jah credits much of his learning to Captain Peia Patai, who he sees as a mentor and father figure. “He’s like a dad and I feel a bit like a son trying to fill big shoes,” says Jah. Jah will be navigating from Samoa to Fiji under the guidance of Peia. “What I love about Marumaru Atua is that for me, she is my home.” It’s impossible to get Jah to pose for a serious photo!!

Ngateina Mackenzie

Known to all her as Teina. Teina was born in Algiers, and has traveled extensively in her childhood, spending time in Canada hence the Canadian twang…She is mother to 6 beautiful children and her roots are firmly planted back home in Rarotonga. She is a Proud Mangaian and Pamati with flecks of Sumaringa and Hollywood in the mix!! On her maternal grandfather’s side she is a descendant of William Marsters and on her maternal grandmothers side descendant of Captain Emil Piltz (German) who married in to the Poroaiti in Mangaia. She is a true advocate for the environment and works tirelessly with environmental and climate change agencies such as TIS, Seabed Minerals and Marae Moana. Teina recently stood as an Independent Candidate in the last local elections in Ngatangiia. Teina follows in little brothers Numa Mackenzies footsteps. She joined the vaka for her first voyage to Suwarrow last year with TIS/NES/Birdlife team who were on a Rat Eradication program to the island. Teina loves the vaka, and she is passionate about the Cook Islands and making a statement to the world in Sydney to convey the ‘one Pacific voice’ and how we need to take extraordinary measures to manage and protect what we have left.

Amota Paul Tatuava Tatuava 

Know as Amosa was born in Rarotonga and is 36 years old. By day he works as a qualified beach bum for Captain Tama’s. He hails from Ngati Karika and from the Tatuava Tanga clan of Atiu and Mauke. His first voyage was on Marumaru Atua in 2010 on her maiden voyage from Salthouse, New Zealand where she was built, to Raivavae, Moorea, Papeete and then on to Rarotonga. After a four year break from voyaging Amosa returns to the vaka on this historic journey to Sydney, Australia. It’s good to welcome Amosa back to the crew.

Taiau Joseph Clint Jean-Baptiste Tauira

From Tahiti, Taiau was born in Papeete and is 30 years old. Taiau started his training with Faafaite – Tahiti Voyaging Society. His first voyage was with Waka Tapu Te Aurere and Ngahiraka on their return from sailing to Rapanui (the far corner of the Polynesian Triangle). He sailed with them from Moorea to Rarotonga earlier this year. He continued through to Aotearoa with Waka Tapu before returning to Tahiti on the vaka motu Rangi. In July he sailed with Faafaite to Rarotonga with the Malama Honua World Wide Vaka Hokulea and Hikianalia. He has ties to Rarotonga through his Tauira family, he spent some years living with his grandfather Papa Louie Tauira and and while here attended Nukutere College.

Maurai Jonathon Villa

Born and raised in Papeete, Maurai is 23 years old. His mum Elena owns the world famous Tahiti Cafe in Rarotonga –  if you haven’t eaten there you haven’t really visited Rarotonga!! One condition of Maurai joining the crew was that he had to bring a batch of his mum’s secret sauce or the recipe!! Maurai only recently started his training with Marumaru Atua and this is his first voyage. In his words, I would like to participate in this voyage because I like the sea. I’ve been surfing and paddling all my life. I want to experience something new and I am very interested in traditional voyaging and navigation. I am looking forward to learning more as I go.

Miriam Hutchings

Born in Amsterdam, Holland, Miriam (Miriama in Maori)  immigrated with her family to South Africa at the age of 2. Growing up in Durban and then Cape Town, she has always had an interest in sailing vessels. While other classmates had pictures of superstars on their books, she had boats! She has sailed single hulled dinghy’s as crew for my father, Huco who taught her all she knew about sailing. As she grew up, family took priority while sailing went on the back burner. When her daughter Sharlene turned 18 in 2011, she returned to the water. This time as crew on keel boats in competitive sailing out of Tauranga Harbour, New Zealand where she had immigrated to in 2002. She moved with my husband Tony, who has 2 children of his own, Aron 28 and Amber 24, to the Cook Islands in January 2013. She has been fortunate enough to complete some short-term contract work with various government departments as a Human Resource Project Consultant. The first thing on their “To-Do” list was to purchase and refurbish an 18ft Tangaroa Vaka, “Namu”. She’s the oldest boat in the fleet and the first twin-hull/ outrigger boat Miriam sailed. In “Namu” her interest in Pacific Voyaging awakened. Later in the year she stepped on Marumaru Atua for the first time as she was preparing to sail to Suwarrow. Too late to join the voyage but endeavoured to make herself available to go wherever she went to next. Miriam was hooked, no longer was it about getting on the boat. It had become a deep seated desire to travel like our forefathers did. She read the book, “Hawaki’i Rising” the story of the birth of Hokulea and Nainoa Thompson. Reading about the hardships did little to deter but, it left her determined to integrate into the Polynesian way of sailing, connecting with the earth and the water. Her research has ranged from Mau Paulig, the Grandfather of Navigation to the plastic debris found in our oceans. Her awareness has connected her emotionally and left her wondering what she can do to raise people from their apathy to action on environmental issues? This voyage to Sydney to participate in the IUCN World Parks Congress is something so small. But as we’ve learnt, all it takes is one person to want to change. Mau passed on his navigation skills as one person and has birthed a re-awakening into Polynesian Voyaging. In Miriam’s words, I am but one person, a novice sailor on a journey of discovery, to track through the ocean, to take care of the ocean and to join our forefathers on Marumaru Atua, “under the shadow of God”.

 Joshua Moi Tearamoana Orika 

Josh is THE baby of the vaka, and turns 20 in two weeks time, he was born in Auckland. oshua’s linage is as far north as Pukapuka/Tongareva on his paternal side and his maternal side hails from the islands of Atiu, Mitiaro, Mangaia and Samoa, so you could say he has circumnavigated the Cooks before his time. Being the last of the boys brought into this world by his parents Kirikoi Orika and Maria Mataiti-Orika from villages Tautu and Amuri of the beautiful island of Aitutaki, residing in Auckland NZ. Joshua was raised in Aitutaki by his maternal grandparents, Joshua has always shown signs of interest for the stars, oceans and environment from his early years involvement with the SDA Pathfinders, growing up in Aitutaki and later on with the Otara SDA Church in Auckland. Educated in his early childhood days in Aitutaki & most of his College years at Aorere College Auckland. Josh recently moved back to Rarotonga in pursuit of challenges and self-independence. Barely into his teens has Josh achieved what many of us could only have hoped to achieved in such a short time. Cruise boat operator, bartending/waiter, mechanics. Loves basketball, kitesurfing, fishing, friends and family. And peanut slabs!! His latest and greatest love is for our vaka Marumaru Atua!! Josh on recently started his training with Marumaru Atua, he would like to learn from his ancestors and this is also an opportunity to travel to different countries and represent his people of the Cook Islands and share this important message of hope for our oceans.

Samuel Raymond Timoko

Not far from Muri Lagoon lie plaques that honour the great migration of canoes which left Avana harbour in Ngatangiia, Rarotonga for Aotearoa hundreds of years ago. For the past three years Northland-born and raised Samuel Raymond Timoko, a New Zealand Maori (Nga Puhi), has called the place his ancient ancestors came from as home. Sam is a talented chef, currently working for the Little Polynesian Resort. Previously he was working for the Hospitality and Training Centre and has been instrumental in training new chefs in Rarotonga. This is Sam’s first voyage on Marumaru Atua. Sam had the privilege of sailing with Hikianalia from Rarotonga to Aitutaki in July during the Malama Honua stop over in Cook Islands. Sam has also sailed extensively in New Zealand and in the Ionian Sea. Sam joined the voyage to learn and obtain ancestral knowledge of voyaging, to meet and network with other voyagers and to carry the message of sustainable development and conservation in the Pacific and educate people of the effects of climate change on our oceans.

Harry Charles Fredrick Goodwin 

Harry was born in Rarotonga, he is the son of Sir Fredrick Goodwin (former Queens Representative) and Lady Ina Goodwin. He hails from the Ngati Maoate and Ngati Tuavera families and connections to the island of Aitutaki on his father’s side. Harry’s first voyage was with vaka Te Au O Tonga from Rarotonga to Pago Pago for the 2008 Pacific Arts Festival. Harry is a qualified Beach Bum and can usually be found on Captain Tama’s Lagoon cruises. In 2010 he joined the Te Mana O Te Moana Voyage and has sailed with the fleet returning to Rarotonga in 2012. Harry is one of two apprentice navigators in the Cook Islands, and has been training under the guidance of PWO navigators Peia and Tua since 2010. He will continue his training with Peia on this voyage to Sydney. Harry is keen to share the message of protecting our ocean against ever increasing impact of man and to continue his passion for sailing traditionally.

Sergio Lai

Sergio was born in Papeete, Tahiti. He has made his home in Rarotonga following the end of the Te Mana O Te Moana Voyage in 2012. Sergio first voyaged to Rarotonga in 2010 on board Faafaite. He has sailed with Faafaite to Hawaii, San Diego, Monteray, Los Angeles, Mexico, Cocos Island, Galapagos, Tahiti, , Marquesas, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji. Since 2012 he has been sailing with Marumaru Atua. Sergio is also an awesome chef, fisherman, as well as a handy man and has been instrumental in getting Marumaru Atua ready for her voyage and training the crew in the absence of Peia and Tua. We have been very lucky to have Sergio as part of our senior crew.