Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Great Wa'a - Once the rulers of the Pacific

Timeless Craft
From Maden Voyage Productions, this short video represents a glimpse into the past regarding the methods, skill and spirituality associated with the design, building and launching the great Polynesian canoe.

Polynesia began with the voyaging canoe. More than three thousand years ago, the uninhabited islands of Samoa and Tonga were discovered by an ancient people. With them were plants, animals, and a language with origins in Southeast Asia; and along the way they had become a seafaring people. Arriving in probably a few small groups, and living in isolation for centuries, they evolved distinctive physical and cultural traits. Samoa and Tonga became the cradle of Polynesia, and the center of what is now Western Polynesia.
More than two thousand years ago, Polynesians exploring eastward, during times when winds shifted away from the prevailing easterlies, discovered the Tahitian and Marquesas Islands. From these "centers of diffusion" explorers reached outward as far as Hawai'i to the north, Easter Island to the east, and New Zealand to the southwest. Before European open ocean exploration began, Eastern Polynesia had been explored and settled.

Canoe Design Evolution

Because the exploration and settlement of Eastern Polynesia originated from the same centers, the design of the canoes must have been much the same throughout. But that design disappeared. Ships are as mortal as their makers. Except for fragments of ancient canoes excavated on New Zealand and pieces of a large canoe recently unearthed from a bog on Huahine, there is no hard evidence.1 Except for a petroglyph on Easter Island, and passing references in the old legends, there is no descriptive record.

Taken from the pages of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the above is a quote from the legendary Herb Kawainui Kane.

Share your experience with these majestic vessels. Share how you are connected to these wooden sailing craft that were at one time the absolute rulers of the waves.

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