Canoes on course for world congress

THE Marumaru Atua from the Cook Islands is proud to join its two other Pacific sisters — the Uto ni Yalo and the Gaualofa from Samoa — in the journey to let the world know of climate change and ocean awareness at the IUCN World Park Congress in Sydney next month.

Skipper Peia Patai said the message was clear and that was to make a difference and take ownership of the ocean.

The two vaka canoes arrived in Suva yesterday. It will be berthed here for a week before departing for Australia on October 13.

“It took us about six days from Cooks to Samoa, we spent two days helping the other canoe to get ready and four days from Samoa to here,” Mr Patai said.

“We are honoured to be part of the IUCN congress movement, as we all know that here in the Pacific, we rely a lot on the ocean.

“Maybe some do not really understand, maybe they just don’t care. We want to make a difference, maybe not instantly but factually, they will work and let the world know of our fight.”

Marumaru Atua, launched in 2012, has 15 crew members and the name in itself means under the shadow of God. Mr Patai said the name was given by the chiefs of the Cooks so the canoe would stay under the guidance of God.

Basically the message, he said was climate change and the main one being ocean awareness.

“That’s quite close to my heart as we all know, we do rely on our ocean and it’s time to take ownership of it and think about our young generation. Not for us but our young generation for them to enjoy the ocean rather than we destroy it.

“It’s the whole Pacific movement, which is powerful. We are going with a strong force behind it.”

The three canoes leave Fiji for Sydney next Monday.

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