Whale Artwork Complete on Vaka Paikea in Cook Islands

Journalist, Melina Etches, wrote an article for Cook Islands News about how the whale artwork on the starboard hull of Vaka Paikea was now complete and artist Tuiane “Katu” Teiti has started working on the port hull.

Master navigator Peia Patai said the port hull will feature a female whale with slightly different designs. He said each of the hulls will also be named.

The maintenance work on the Vaka Paikea is “on target” and everything was set for the blessing and naming ceremony which was held on Friday, April 16.

Vaka Paikea, owned and managed by Te Puna Marama Voyaging Foundation, will make her maiden voyage sailing under the new name to the island of Mauke later this month.

On Mauke, Patai will be conducting workshops focused on the traditional art of voyaging.

In partnership with Tauranga Vananga Ministry of Cultural Development,  Te Puna Foundation trustee Ma’ara Maeva, who is a Cook Islands archaeologist and Pacific programmer at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, will be making a special presentation hosted at the National Museum.

Te Puna Marama Voyaging Society kicked off their first pilot program with the Ministry of Corrective Services and the inmates of Arorangi Prison a week ago.

This program will be run once a week and over the course of 10 weeks or more and covers the theory of sailing followed by practical training sessions.

As part of Te Puna Marama’s education agenda, they had been meeting with the Ministry of Corrective Services to develop a pilot rehabilitation program using the vaka to introduce those on probation and as well as inmates to traditional voyaging and navigation.

The main goal of the program is to help improve the participants’ cultural knowledge and sense of identity as well as to promote positive attitude and behavioural changes.


Tereapii Ngamata (left) and Steve Daniel admire the completed whale design on the starboard hull of Vaka Paikea. Photo from MELINA ETCHES/23033146

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