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POLYNESIAN CANOES

  Vaka : saga of a Polynesian canoe

This saga of Polynesian voyaging is told by one of its most distinguished sons. Sir Tom Davis, Pa Tuterangi Ariki, KFE, is himself a navigator of some renown as well as a scientist of international repute and a former Prime Minister of the Cook Islands. He gives, in the form of a novel, a fascinating account of 300 years of voyaging of a single historic canoe by his own forebears as told in their traditions.

Polynesians are people of the outrigger canoe. In the beginning, they sailed from south-east Asia, through the islands of Indonesia and Melanesia. They settled in Tonga and Samoa around 1500 BC and later sailed on to the Cook Islands, the Society Islands, Marquesas, Tuamotu, Easter Island, Hawaii, New Zealand, even to Micronesia. The communication between their communities offered by their swift voyaging canoes was a major reason for the maintenance of basic systems of language, social structure and numerous cultural similarities for more than 3,000 years.

Only Ariki (royal paramount chiefs) commanded the resources to build, maintain and operate large voyaging canoes. Their life was accompanied by cyclical problems of over-population and struggles for power and territory. The technology of Takitumu, the voyaging canoe, which is the focus of this novel, was developed to serve the purposes, whims, intrigues and passions of those who sailed her over a period of 300 years. This book is destined to become a classic.

Adventuring in the Pacific : Polynesia Melanesia Micronesia (1996) Lonely Planet Tahiti & French Polynesia (Tahiti and French Polynesia, 5th Ed) Voyage of Rediscovery : A Cultural Odyssey Through Polynesia The Happy Isles of Oceania : Paddling the Pacific
 
 

 
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