Reviving the ‘lost skills’ of traditional waka Pacific voyaging

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Waka (or va’a) voyager and environmental advocate Schannel van Dijken talks about the Pacific and Samoan ocean sailing traditions and the challenges of climate change. Video: Pacific Media Centre

By Hele Ikimotu

The president of the Samoa Voyaging Society (SVS), Schannel van Dijken, says humans cannot thrive without looking after our landscapes and seascapes.

As part of his work with the SVS, van Dijken and his team of volunteers sail across the Pacific on their waka, the Gaualofa – promoting the old tradition of navigating.

“Our mission is to revive the lost art of traditional navigation and voyaging but also to take this knowledge and stewardship responsibilities that we used to have – take these to the communities,” he says.

He also speaks of the challenges around climate change and the need to raise awareness about the issue.

This 4 minute video was produced by Hele Ikimotu and Blessen Tom as part of the Pacific Media Centre’s Bearing Witness climate assignment under the postgraduate International Journalism Project with Te Ara Motuhenga at Auckland University of Technology.

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Hele Ikimotu is Niuean and Banaban-Gilbertese student journalist currently in his final year of a Bachelor of Communication Studies, majoring in journalism at Auckland University of Technology. Hele has a passion and interest for Pacific journalism, especially regarding arts and culture.

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