‘We the Voyagers: Our Vaka’; Film screening, talk story slated at ‘Imiloa

  • Courtesy photo A scene from “Our Vaka," part one of the groundbreaking new documentary series “We the Voyagers.”

In a remote southeast corner of the Pacific, outside the Polynesian Triangle, lies the tiny island of Taumako, where ancient wayfinding and canoe building technologies were never lost.

Join ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center from 7-8:45 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in the Moanahoku Room for the Hawaii Island premiere of part one of the groundbreaking new documentary series “We the Voyagers.”

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The first film in a three-part series, “Our Vaka,” traces the story of how residents of this isolated Solomon Islands community continue to follow the ways of their ancestral culture-hero, Lata, who built the first voyaging canoe (vaka) and navigated to distant islands using unique designs, materials and methods.

Produced by The Vaka Taumako Project, “We the Voyagers” presents the largely untold story of an unbroken wayfinding tradition, which stands in sharp contrast to the now familiar history of the epic efforts of Hawaii’s Polynesian Voyaging Society to recover the lost art of oceanic wayfinding in the 1970s.

As the film shows, Taumako wayfinding is distinct in other ways as well. Among its features are a unique style of voyaging canoe with a largely underwater hull, prominent roles played by women and a navigation technique for metaphysically influencing weather patterns.

The 58-minute film will be introduced by Chad Kalepa Baybayan, ‘Imiloa’s navigator-in-residence and senior crew member for the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage (2014-17).

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Following the screening, Baybayan will talk story with the film’s producer, Marianne “Mimi” George, a Hawaii-based anthropologist who has nearly 30 years of experience with Taumako maritime history. Baybayan and George will discuss the divergent histories of wayfinding revival within and outside Polynesia, as well as the Vaka Taumako Project’s efforts to support the construction of new canoes and training of the next generation of youth in Taumako.

For more information, visit www.ImiloaHawaii.org or call 932-8901.

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