South Pacific: All Female Crew to Sail Restored Waka from NZ to Tonga

An all women crew will set sail from New Zealand in mid July on a restored voyaging waka, in a historic journey aimed at inspiring the next generation of female voyagers and raising the profile of women in the maritime industry.

Published 1 week ago, updated 7 days ago

Historic Journey for Female Crew

Members of the Tonga Voyaging Society have been in Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island since April, restoring the waka Hinemoana II in readiness for the journey from New to Vava’u in Tonga.

The Hinemoana II is scheduled to leave the Bay of Plenty in mid-July.  Co-led by Tongan Captain Aunofo Havea, this is the first time the journey has been done with an all-woman crew who will also undertake scientific research on whale populations as part of the journey.

Captain Havea – the first woman in Tonga to get her skipper’s ticket – is clear in her mission: she says she wants to give back to the community, by lifting other women up and by raising the profile of women in maritime.

“This voyage is also a chance to weave together ancestral wisdom with scientific research, to ensure the health of our oceans and the whales that grace them,” she said.

Image from Maritime NZ Facebook page.

Captain ‘Aunofo and her “Samoan Princess” 2nd-in-command Captain ‘Fani Bruun will lead a crew of 12 on the journey, expected to take between 8-12 days.

Fealofani Bruun, the first Sāmoan woman to qualify as a yacht master, will be adding her expertise in traditional navigation as co-captain of the Hinemoana II.

The Tonga Voyaging Society has joined forces with local iwi (tribe) Te Whānau-ā-Āpanui from Te Kaha while in New Zealand. Members of the iwi have supported the group with restoration of the waka and several women have joined the waka crew.

The waka was purchased from the Okeanos Foundation and relocated from the Marshall Islands where it had been in storage for some years. The purchase and restoration has been funded by Conservation International and the waka will be used to support conservation research.

The Pacific Maritime Safety Programme (PMSP) is supporting the initiative by funding Coastguard New Zealand’s Boatmaster training for some of the crew.

Captain ‘Aunofo expects to depart in early July, arriving in Vava’u at the same time as some of the earliest migrating whales.

The PMSP is a New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade programme, funded through the International Development Cooperation programme and delivered by Maritime NZ.

The Tonga Voyaging Society  is a not-for-profit NGO reviving Tongan maritime cultural heritage traditions through ocean voyaging on modern kalia.

…………………………………

Related News:

…………………………………

Related Links:

…………………………………

Noonsite has not independently verified this information.

…………………………………

Find out all news, reports, links and comments posted on Noonsite, plus cruising information from around the world, by subscribing to our FREE monthly newsletter. Go to https://www.noonsite.com/newsletter/.

Read and Post Related Comments

Related to the following Cruising Resources: , ,


You must Login or Register to submit comments.