How the Uto ni Yalo crew were selected

THE Uto ni Yalo, our drua, poised to sail on a quest called Mua donu, has generated considerable interest among those wanting to be a part of this epic voyage to Sydney as part of the fleet of four twin hulled vaka that will sail under the

Darling Harbour Bridge to open the World Congress on Parks sponsored by the IUCN on November 12.

It is a voyage of firsts for us in the Pacific. It has been financed and organised solely by the people of the Pacific. Drua/vaka crew members are almost all descendants of ancestors that sailed the Pacific long before European contact and we are one in voice and goals.

Several well-known Pacific island leaders of government will accompany each vaka on their last leg into Darling Harbour where they will address the world with a unified stand on climate change and marine conservation.

The selection panel of executive board members, senior crew and an IUCN representative had the challenge to assess a set of about 40 applicants for a crew of 15. The captain is No. 16 and he was already chosen.

The selectors’ checklist in no priority order:

1. Past performance — for those that sailed before or by reference

2. Related experiences — in sailing, marine science, education, media

3. Fluency with the iTaukei and Rotuman traditions and cultural protocol. The ability to take part in ceremonial activities, chants, meke and songs.

4. On board skills aside from working the sails, ropes and uli. Can a person contribute to cooking and other day to day activities?

5. Representative distribution by gender, age, ethnicity, new people versus those that have sailed before.

6. Potential for leadership roles

7. Entertainment as in the playing of an instrument, being able to sing or dance or simply someone who can adapt to close quarter living without suffering from that ailment called “expedition fever”.

8. Ancillary skills — photography, videography, writing, public speaking.

9. Pre-voyage assistance with refitting the Uto ni Yalo.

No one claims that this criterion was immutable. It was explained to those in attendance that each applicant was discussed.

For those that were not chosen for this trip there would be an entirely new set of voyages for 2015 and maintaining interest placed non-travellers at the top of next year’s crew listing.

Selectors are confident that those chosen are both equal in how they are respected and how they were judged and simultaneously expressing that their diversity was their equality.

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