A call for global action

VOYAGING canoes from Samoa and the Cook Islands are expected in the country today to join the Uto ni Yalo on a historic journey to Australia.

The Samoan canoe Gaualofa and the Cook Islands canoe Marumaru Atua departed Apia in Samoa on Thursday and they will be welcomed into Suva later today.

The three canoes will spend one week in Suva which will give the people of Fiji the opportunity to see the vaka and be involved in the Mua Voyage and help promote its important message.

The Mua Voyage will convey the Pacific Island’s message to the world about our people, our islands, our ocean, our future.

The people of the Pacific have rich and diverse cultures shaped by the environment with islands and communities connected as guardians of the great ocean. But the ocean is being overexploited.

The effects of climate change — rising sea levels, rising temperatures, ocean acidification and more intense storms — are damaging crops, threatening food security, affecting freshwater tables and intruding into island homes.

The Pacific people are calling for partnerships to help sustain the Pacific Islands for future generations and for the health of the planet.

“This voyage aims to raise awareness of the Pacific and our commitment to conservation through our heritage and culture,” said Leilua Ame Sene-Tanielu, representative of the Samoa Voyaging Society.

The Mua Voyage will convey this important message to the world by sailing into Sydney Harbour for the opening of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014.

The congress is the landmark global forum on protected areas, held once every 10 years, and is expected to bring together about 3000 people from 160 countries.

The voyage is a high-profile and innovative way of drawing the world’s attention to the important message from the Pacific about people, oceans and climate change.

October 11 will be Vaka Day, with members of the public invited to come down to the USP Laucala Bay Campus foreshore to see the three voyaging canoes before they set sail for Port Vila, Vanuatu — their next destination on this important voyage to Sydney.

As the Mua Voyage enters Darling Harbour on the morning of November 12, they will be joined on board by Kiribati President Anote Tong, Palauan President Tommy Remengasau and the Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Henry Puna.

This historic vaka voyage will then be welcomed by the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC), the Mayor of Sydney, the IUCN Secretary General, the NSW Minister for the Environment, other dignitaries and World Parks Congress.

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