9 Mar 2009

Two traditional ocean-faring vessels to be delivered to Solomon Island communities

6:39 am on 9 March 2009

A German-led team is sailing to remote parts of Solomon Islands to deliver two traditional ocean-faring vessels to local communities.

The boats embarked from the Philippines last November on a 6-thousand kilometre voyage to trace the migration route of the ancient Polynesians.

At the weekend, the two traditional wooden catamarans - using Polynesian hull shapes and sails set off from Lata for remote Anuta and Tikopia in the country's southeastern waters.

One of the crew, Athol Anderson says they are handing over the vessels in a bid to to help locals continue the tradition of voyaging.

"You could ask well why didn't you just put them in a ship and ship them out to the islands?"

The reason why they're being sailed is that they're sailing along the route taken by the very first people to enter the more remote Pacific islands and these were the Lapita people of 3-thousand years ago who sailed out as far as Tonga and Samoa prior to the main Polynesian migrations which reached New Zealand.