Traditional canoes set sail from Fiji to Australia
Three Pacific voyaging canoes have left Fiji for Sydney, Australia marking climate change issues.
Three Pacific voyaging canoes from Fiji are bound for Sydney in Australia to mark climate change issues.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says the canoes from the Cook Islands, Samoa and Fiji will be met by a vaka from New Zealand, the Haunu, before they head to the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney.
The senior communications officer with the IUCN Oceania Regional Office in Suva, Frank Koloi, told Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor what messages the canoes are carrying.
FRANK KOLOI: The key message that these four vakas, remembering that there will be the Cook Islands vaka and the Samoan vaka, who have just arrived, they will be joined by the Fijian vaka and travelling to Sydney, but before Sydney they will be met in Brisbane by a New Zealand vaka, where all four will travel down to Sydney, with the message to the World Parks Congress, which they have once every 10 years on protecting areas, the message from the Pacific peoples is a call for global action on climate change, and that's simply because we want to raise the awareness about how all of our small islands are vulnerable to climate change.
MOERA TUILAEPA-TAYLOR: Are you able to tell me names of the canoes.
FK: The Cook Islands one is Marumaru Atua , the Samoan one is Gaualofa, captained by a female, the two watch captains are also both female. And the Fijian one is Uto ni Yalo.
MTT: This is a massive operation to get these four voyaging canoes from four different places together, it must of taken quite a lot of planning to organise all of this. In terms of funding, how are they supported through the journey.
FK: Well, that's the uniqueness of this journey that it's fully funded by the Pacific islands themselves with contributions from most of our governments in the region and a lot of corporate sponsorship from various companies, commercial and corporate, both in the Cook Islands, in Samoa and here in Fiji. So the bulk of the funding is done through fundraising and it's really a voyage on a shoe string budget and if it wasn't for the support of some of our partners, SPREP, WWF and the New Zealand government this would not have been possible. But the whoLE coordination has all been done by these Pacific island nations, in particular the Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji and we also have crew of eight who are joining the Samoan and Fijian vakas from Tonga.
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