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 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 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.
On July 20th 1995 the Cook Islands Government and Parliament unanimously endorsed sending a traditional vaka to Mururoa Atoll to protest at the resumption of French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. Prime Minister at the time Sir Geoffrey Henry told a Greenpeace delegation at an official reception that the vaka would best symbolise the opposition of Polynesians to nuclear tests. Vaka Te Au O Tonga, was captained by Tua. They sailed to meet the fleet in Mururoa, representing the Cook Islands and Pacific Island Nations at the protest.
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.
Tua says if you look after the vaka, the vaka will look after you. The vaka can be used as a metaphor for our earth, if we look after our earth, the earth will look after you. Tua will lead the Te Manava Fleet to Rarotonga in May to celebrate the inaugural Te Manava Vaka festival. This festival is a celebration of “The Essence, the heart and soul of our origins of Vaka” and the 50th anniversary of self governance of the Cook Islands.
PHOTO: Tua and the youngest two of his children, daughters Tiahuia and Aimata
One of our senior and long time member of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society Tetini Pekepo.
Born in a small township in central Hawkes bay under the korowai of Ngati Kahungungu, Whataiapiti. Later on in life influenced by carving and stories on marae’s, I took a deep interest in maoridom until a kaumatua said to me ” Boy no whea mai koe” It was then that I planned to search for myself, a search that brought me to the Cook Islands. Within the first 5 months I sailed on interisland boats to 7 islands, it was then that I discovered “no ea mai au” that was in 1987 E kimianga mekameka tikai.
Tetini is a master carver and a taunga tatau and has sailed on many voyages with the CIVS throughout the pacific islands.
Tetini designed the motifs on the sails of Marumaru Atua and hand painted them on to the original sails. He also designed the logo for the Te Manava Vaka festival. The Logo has 3 wave designs, left side “ngaru nui” wind generate swells,middle “ngaru roa” trade swells, left side ” ngaru pa enua swells reflected off land. The weaving. tight knit of the family of vaka moana. The koru shown in negative form “tupuanga” depicts the growth of the voyaging society.
Te Manava Vaka Festival means “The Essence, the heart and soul of our origins of Vaka.”
PHOTO: Captain Ti and Captain in training James
It is an honour to have PWO Navigator Onohi join the crew of Marumaru Atua.
Onohi was born on the island of Oahu, Hawaii in Papakolea or as it affectionately known, “Beverly Hills” & raised in Nanakuli. He moved to Waimea on Moku o Keawe or the Big island in 1994 for the building of Makali`i.
Onohi first sailed on Hokule`a during crew trainings under Nainoa Thompson back in the early 90’s and was invited to be a crew member onboard in 1992 during the No Na Mamo Voyage from Hawai`i to Tahiti under Captain Clay Bertelmann. He started focusing on wayfinding, seamanship skills, and traditional navigation training with a family of 16 men from Hawai’i and the South Pacific. For 3 years their time was spent together during the summer; hence they became known as “the boys of summer.”; as a family, their rites of passage was sailing Hokule`a to 9 degrees north and than finding their way to Hilo, Hawai’i.
For Onohi our waka are a “bridge” that connects us to so many different areas of consciousness both spiritually and physically if we allow ourselves to. It is this “bridge” that we must remember to continue to walk over so that we never forget our connections and our relationship to one another. “He wa`a he moku he moku he wa`a” the canoe an island the island a canoe. When we can remember and reflect on the experiences, relationships and remember the privilege that we had while sailing together onboard Marumaru Atua and become the bridge when we are home for our ohana and community, then we will all continue to flourish.
His hope for all of our waka is that we return home from our voyages with a greater understanding of how we are connected to everyone on this wa`a, called Earth. Understanding clearly what we do effects others around us, especially our moku, our oceans and each other. Knowing this, we feel a greater responsibility and act upon it.
The ocean has always been his greatest teacher. So when he is home and he starts to forget, it is where he finds himself retuning to. It has influenced his life and it is the place where he goes to and immerse himself in, so that he is able to reflect upon and remember his place on the moku.
When Onohi is not voyaging he is the Senior Captain for their non- profit organization, Na Kalai Wa`a.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kaimana Barcarse
We are honoured to have Magnus join our crew on board Marumaru Atua for the Te Manava Voyage from Auckland to Rarotonga.
Magnus Danbolt was born in Sweden in 1972 by the Lake Roxen. His love for sailing started from an early age sailing from the Lake Roxen on the Swedish rivers/canals to the Ocean and from there started voyaging.
He studied at the University of Gothenburg, graduating in 2003 with a Master’s Degree in Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography. He previously worked as a researcher and skipper for International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) on scientific projects with marine mammals. A chance meeting led to his move to New Zealand in 2009. Magnus got involved as a marine biologist doing work on a documentary about ocean issues. “We wanted to alert people about oxygen starvation, coral bleaching and steadily rising levels of acidification,” he said. “Because of acidification, phytoplankton — one of the building blocks of life — can’t form shells properly, and that has ripples throughout the food chain.
Magnus was the Skipper of Hine Moana during Te Mana o Te Moana and the fleet captain from July 2009 – September 2012. Magnus safely leading the fleet of eight vessels and 120 crew from 15 island nations 25000 nautical miles across the Pacific during a two year Te Mana O Te Moana environmental project.
More recently as General Manager for Pacific Voyagers Trust he has successfully carried out transport/fisheries/relief work pilot projects in Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshal Is, Palau, Tahiti, Tuamotus with the Vaka Motu project in collaboration with local governments, local organisations and Pacific Voyagers (PV) management.
He was involved in planning, building and running two prototype inter-island transport vessel including implementation of state of the art solar electric propulsion system resulting in a unique robust, low priced, environmental friendly transport vessel.
Magnus says the voyaging societies common goal is to raise one voice from the Pacific to highlight oceanic problems.
“The ocean is in trouble, and we need to take care of it,” Danbolt said.
PHOTO: Hoturoa Kerr, Magnus and Tua Pittman in Hawaii
I am Japanese, I was born in Japan. When I was in High School, Hokule’a came to Japan. I got a chance to sail around my town with her. Since then I fell in love with Vaka. I decided to move Hawaii after I graduated from High School and have been training with the Polynesian Voyaging Society since 2008. My first deep sea voyage was 2012 Aotearoa-Tahiti-Hawaii. In 2014, I was so lucky and had opportunity to sail with Uncle Tua and Peia on Hikianalia. I had never sailed with other than Hawaiian Vaka. I am really really excited to sail with Marumaru Atua and learn from their Pwo Navigators again, and all the crew of Marumaru Atua. I am so arigato to this opportunity.
Saki flew all the way from Japan to join the Te Manava Voyage. We welcome Saki to our crew, she is one of our young voyagers that are part a future exchange program that the Cook Islands Voyaging Society is establishing with other voyaging societies.
Milton was born at Middlemore Hospital 28.04.1990, father Jean-Pierre Huri (Full Tahitian Tahaa/Raiatea-Tikehau/Tuamotu) mother: Tuarau Maeva-Huri Mauke/Ngatangiia/Palmerston. He is the 2nd Eldest of 4 children 2 Sisters and a brother. Born and Breed in NZ, But has been fortunate to be surrounded with lots of culture since he can remember.
Milton is a full-time artist-tattooist. He put his Bachelor of Youth Development on hold to pursue a challenge and adventure, he believes that our youth are our future.
Milton was approached by an uncle (first cousin to mum) Maara Maeva to come up with some concept drawings to be painted on the sides of the MARUMARU ATUA with a team of 2 other young Artists. He and the other artists applied the artwork to the vaka. While do so Captain Peia Patai pulled him aside and asked if he had been to Rarotonga, then he asked him if he would like to join the Voyage to Rarotonga, Milton was lost for words and without thinking about it he said YES.
Milton wants to follow in the foot prints of his father, grandparents great grandparent on both sides of the family that traveled by SEA….ITS IN HIS BLOOD.
This is Milton’s first voyage. His first introduction to life at sea was last weekend on the sail up to Aurere. We welcome Milton to our crew and look forward to him sailing home for his first visit to the Cook Islands.
PHOTO: India from Faafaite, Milton
Luther is 25 years of age and a 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!! Luther’s first voyage was the MUA Voyage… Rarotonga, Apia, Suva, Port Vila, Gold Coast, Sydney.
Luther sailed from Sydney back to Auckland and then came home to Rarotonga for a break, when the call came, he was the first one of the Raro based crew to fly to Auckland to get ready to bring Marumaru Atua home. Luther has vowed when he sails home to Rarotonga, THEN he will shave his beard..
Therese (pronounced Terase) Inano Mangos is a new member of the voyaging family. She was born and raised in Aotearoa and lives in West Auckland with her partner and three children. She is the daughter of Tuaine Utanga and Leonard Mangos (Mangos is Greek) and granddaughter of Rebecca Tekonini (Nga-Pu-Toru) and Utanga Utanga (Mangaia / Rarotonga). She is a descendant of the Makea Karika line, the vaka Te Au O Tonga, and tapere, Rua-O-Te-Tonga.
Her passion for voyaging was ignited when she crewed on the Spirit of Adventure in the early 80s. This led on to further voyages with the both the Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of New Zealand.
Voyaging was also an integral part of her research which spanned two decades into our Cook Islands history and arts. This culminated into a book that was published in 2011 ‘Patterns of the Past: Tattoo Revival in the Cook Islands’.
Today Therese is an advocate for the environment, in her work, at home and in her community. She is passionate about building resilience in communities and education for sustainability.
Ia ora na, I’m India Ranitea Teohiuarii Vehiatua Tabellini and I just turned 21. I was born in Moorea and I grew up in Italy, which is my dad’s country of origin. When I finished high school, I moved back to Tahiti. I wanted to understand my tahitian side, to create a real link with my roots and a culture that I felt it as part of me but that I didn’t really know.
That’s why I sail on Fa’afaite, my tahitian va’a: it is not only about the pleasure of being on the Ocean but it answers to these deeper questions.
In this moment I am part of the crew which is bringing Marumaru Atua back to Rarotonga, back at home.It is a special experience, that makes me richer in knowledge. I will be able to share this with my people.I am so glad to be here. India is part of a cultural exchange program that is being established between the Cook Islands Voyaging Society and sister societies.
Photo Credit: Pelika Andrade… India and her Hawaiian twin Ohu modelling Haunui’s wet weather gear, they loved it so much they bought themselves a set!!
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. It was during the Malama Honua voyage with Tua and Peia she asked if she could join them on Marumaru Atua on the MUA voyage.
Ohu joined the crew in Sydney sailing to Auckland, while in NZ she helped out with the haul out of the vaka and showing our crew how to do the lashings with fellow Hawaiian Kala. It is a great pleasure and honour to have Ohu on board again to bring our vaka home while representing Makalii family and our polynesian brothers and sisters from Hawaii.
Elijah-James Hanita Pakoti, or 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 – Te Mana O Te Moana voyage 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”!!!
James was chosen to skipper Marumaru Atua home to Rarotonga for the Te Manava Vaka Festival, under the mentor-ship of PWO Navigator Tua Pittman and Admiral of the Te Mana O Te Moana Fleet Magnus Danbolt. The festival is a celebration of the vaka and our youth are our future, our up and coming leaders, James and his brother Jamaal (currently sailing on Vaka Motu Rangi) are the future of Cook Islands Voyaging Society.
PHOTO: Veteran sailor Ti Pekapo and Sausage
Kia ora koutou katoa,
No Tuhourangi Ngati Waihiao me Ngararanui ahau He uri au no te waka o Te Arawa Me ki mai Maketu ki Tongaririo Tihei Mauriora
I first became involved in waka hourua in 2001 when i was fortunate to do a couple of day sails on Te Au o Tonga. Not long after I became involved in the Te Wananga o Aotearoa waka AO1, the construction, ocean trials,crew selection and training. During the AO1 training I met Papa Hector, Jacko Thatcher and Stan Conrad who invited me to become a part of the Te Aurere whanau. So until the trials began on the new fleet of waka I moved between both AO1 and Te Aurere attaining as much sailing experience and knowledge I could. In 2009 the trials for the new fleet of waka began and once again I was fortunate to be involved with the first waka “off the rank” Marumaru Atua. Also in 2009 I crewed Te Matau a Maui back from Fiji. The following year 2010 the journey Tavaru began and as luck would have it i was humbled to gain a spot on Marumaru Atua for its return voyage to Rarotonga via Raivavae and Tahiti. 2011-2012 I was again fortunate enough to sail on Te Matau a Maui under the kaupapa of Te Mana o te Moana throughout the Pacific. 2014 I was fortunate to do a delivery sail of one of the new waka motu “Rangi” to Tahiti. At this moment I find myself once again on Marumaru Atua on the kaupapa Te Manava Vaka Festival.
In terms of experience of waka hourua I find myself relatively new to this kaupapa. There is much more to learn I have been privileged to meet esteemed people such as those I have previously mentioned and others such as Tua, Peia, T, Magnus, Nainoa, Paio, etc. The list is continuous! If there is one thing that sticks in my mind about this kaupapa in recent times is the new and keen voyagers that have appeared on the scene. This tells me that the treasures that have been handed down through the generations from our ancestors are alive and well.
Finally my Aotearoa whanau ask me, how come you always sail on Marumaru Atua? My reply “Te Au o Tonga” gave me my first experience to sailing” What other answer do I need to give?
mauriora – Pererika Makiha
PHOTO CREDIT: Ilka Rere (Captain Nicholas Henry, Pererika, Tua)
Haimoana is 26 years, His Iwi Te Aupouri, Te Arawa. He joins Marumaru Atau as an experienced voyager, 6 years with vaka Te Aurere / Ngahiraka as a crew member.
Haimona sailed the entire Waka Tapu journey from Aotearoa to Rapanui and back which took 9 months. He was crew on board Te Aurere to Austral, Tupuai, Gambier (Mangareva), Rapanui, Tahiti, Rarotonga and back to New Zealand.
He is a student and worker in Te Aurere in “Te Wananga nui o Kupe” under the guidance of Hector Busby and Hemi Eruera with the support of New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts. “I am humbled and fortunate to be invited on board Marumaru Atua. I am a passionate sailor and hope to learn and have great experiences amongst the crew and the Cook Islands people.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Lin
Why do i want to be on the Marumaru Atua Vaka? I really wanted to get the feel of how our Tupuna were sailing the ocean back then, and what they were thinking what they could have done to make charges to their Vaka also how did they get here to Aotearoa did they find it hard coming over? all these things I want to know….Just fell in love with our Vaka when we were working on her…And to sail back from here Aotearoa to the Mother land Rarotonga it feels like we are the Tupuna’s who came over here and found land and going back home to tell our people. Love It!!
Karorangi spent many hours sanding and preparing and painting our vaka while she was on dry dock in Auckland, We made a plea for help and he came down and so we are honoured to have Karorangi sail with us back home.
This guy doesn’t need any introductions… veteran voyager, 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 and Gold Coast and Sydney on the MUA voyage.
When Steve heard the call for the MUA voyage there was no question, he had to go, voyaging is in his blood. Steve has been in NZ since the vaka arrived in December and he is happy to be FINALLY making his journey home… Watch out Ngatangiia!! Your boy Steve is coming home and he is expecting the “Big Boys” to be cold and ready and waiting!!!