Gaualofa inspiring next generation of sea voyagers

By Sina Filifilia Seva’aetasi ,

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FAREWELL: Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa (center) with crew and partners.

FAREWELL: Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa (center) with crew and partners. (Photo: Misiona Simo )

The Sa Moana Folauga or Moana Conservation Outreach is officially in motion.  

Launched yesterday on the shores of Black Sand Beach in Apia, partners from the Conservation International (C.I.), Samoa Voyaging Society, the Government of Samoa were in attendance.

Over the next few weeks, Captain Fealofani Brunn, her crew along with a team of local environment and cultural educators  will visit  communities on the Gaualofa to host interactive training on basic coastal and marine management principles, Samoan traditional voyaging and cultural heritage site appreciation and preservation.  

President of Samoa Voyaging Society, Schannel van Djiken yesterday illustrated the universally understood language of love, stewardship, culture and responsibility and how those duties are given to each of us to protect the environment.  

“This is in essence what this project is about.  And doing it in a way that we used to do traditionally through the use of Gaualofa, the Polynesian sailing canoe.”  

“We are doing a unique, never been done workshop and coming and approaching our communities with these values I just mentioned.  With our partners, M.N.R.E., Ministry of Fisheries and National University of Samoa, we have a developed an outreach program that canters on three workshop stations that we will take out communities through.”

Following the workshops, the team will host a free outdoor screening of Disney’s hit film, Moana.  Mr. Van Djiken explained the powerful effect the movie Moana has on the younger generation. 

 “We feel Moana has taken the world by storm, and has inspired so much of our youth and the youth are being proud to be Polynesian."

PERFECT: Gaualofa docked on Black Sand Beach
PERFECT: Gaualofa docked on Black Sand Beach

“There’s a lot they didn’t know what Moana exposed to them and now they’re asking questions and their singing the songs.  We want to showcase Moana in a way that will reach some of the people that may have not seen it. We see it as a wonderful tool,” he said.   

The Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa echoed the importance of government joining in on this unique initiative. 

“The role of government in joining with all the partners is to show our support, not only in joining in the ceremony; but also by the participation of two key ministries in the field, The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Minister of Minister for Natural Resources and Environment.”

She spoke at length about the deep cultural attitude Samoans have towards the environment. 

For instance, the cultural practice of the burying of afterbirth in the village that the child is born in highlights the significance that the environment plays in the everyday life of Samoans.  

“The environment is made of us, we are part of the environment   and if we do not care for our environment we will be the worst for it,” she concluded.   

After the official launch, the crew set sail to Satitoa, Aleipata.   

Over the next two weeks the crew will drop anchor at Poutasi, Manono, Salelologa, Fagamalo and Asau in Savai'i.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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