“A Voyaging Canoe for Tikopia” – an effort to keep South Pacific traditions alive

 Tikopian voyaging canoe

Staying in the same part of the world – and I mean the South Pacific, not Western PA – I note this project: “A Voyaging Canoe for Tikopia,” sponsored by British designer James Wharram. Wharram aims to build two double canoes in the voyaging canoe tradition of the South Western Pacific and donate them to two islands in order to perpetuate their autonomy and their traditions.

We should build 2 Tikopian Double Canoes (by Andy Smith, our builder in the Philippines) and give them to the islands of Tikopia and Anuta (it’s sister island), so they can continue to be self-sufficient and take pride in their ancient sailing heritage. The two canoes would then be sailed the 3000 miles to Tikopia along the ancient Polynesian migration route for handing over to the islanders.

They seem to be asking for various sorts of assistance. I assume this is legit – Wharram is, I believe, an established designer – and the cause is good. A while ago I read The Happy Isles of Oceana: Paddling the Pacific, by Paul Theroux, and, without openly pointing fingers, many of the Pacific islands have had their culture and traditions ransacked over the last few centuries. These were some of the great seafaring people of history, and many now have no connection to the amazing skills and voyages of their ancestors. That is really sad. Good for Wharram to try to pull this off.

Location: Tikopia, Solomon Islands

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