Norfolk Island to revive traditional wayfinding

By Leah Te Whata

Haunui Waka has set sail on a journey across the Pacific Ocean to bring traditional wayfinding back to Norfolk Island. The home people of Norfolk says it's a day that's long been awaited by them.

Damien Snell flew over from Norfolk Island to take part in the voyage.  He says, "At the moment, I can tell you the whole island, 1,800 people are buzzing, waiting for it to happen."

But it hasn't been an easy journey getting to this point.

Maramataka Māori expert Rereata Mahika says, "Our traditional knowledge has long been oppressed, it's knowledge handed down by our ancestors."

Traditional wayfinding expert, Hoturoa Kerr says, "These types of voyages restore such knowledge to reach its full potential in this world."

24 voyagers representing different voyaging societies have been selected to make the journey which is expected to take around five days both ways.

The crew will provide workshops to schools and community in Norfolk Island.  Damien Snell says the voyage is a turning point for his people.

He says, "Since being on Norfolk [traditional wayfinding] has all dropped off so we're hoping that this is going to revive that and it's following our Tahitian bloodlines and that's what we're looking forward to."

The next voyage of Haunui will be to the Festival of Pacific Arts in Hawaii in 2020.