Maire Nui

In 1992, vaka building and voyaging experienced a resurgence in the Cook Islands when the country hosted the sixth Festival of Pacific Arts. Many southern group islands built vaka and sailed them to Rarotonga for the opening of the festival in October 1992.

The Mauke canoe, Maire Nui, is pictured above under sail in an atmospheric photograph by Ewan Smith.

On its 240km journey from Mauke it broke a boom, which halved the speed of travel to about 4 knots, but the boat arrived safely with a happy, although exhausted crew.

After the festival the Maire Nui languished in a tin shed at the old Kia Orana Food Factory until the government property corporation decided it needed the shed for other purposes. The vaka, by now somewhat dilapidated was moved outside.

The library and Mr T (Tetini Pekepo) wanted to build a lean-to in the library’s garden area and teach local youth to renovate and then sail the boat, but no funding was available. Maire Nui was relocated to Mr T’s property where he works on it when he has time.