For the last 10 years, the dedicated work of the Okeanos Foundation has fostered a renaissance in traditional Pacific boat construction, open ocean sailing and navigational training that has inspired innovative, culturally-based local solutions while supporting sustainable development and energy independence.

Throughout the Pacific, traditionally designed modernized fossil fuel-free sailing canoes or ‘vakas’ (also known as va’a, waka, walap, waa’) built by Okeanos Foundation for the Sea are fulfilling a variety of regional needs for transportation between the islands.

Our Foundation is dedicated to supporting Pacific countries to implement a pan-Pacific vaka network providing safe, regular and reliable service to remote communities. Okeanos vakas are certified for open ocean safety for transport of passengers and cargo (e.g. local crops, provisions, educational supplies, medicine, tools and spare parts) as well as disaster relief while also serving as a platform for vocational sailing training, culturally-based education programs and ocean science research.

 

ADDRESSING POLICY

Our support of sustainable sea transportation in the Pacific has galvanized partnerships between Okeanos and island governments to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The diversified use of the Okeanos Vaka Motu can meet up to thirteen UNFCCC Sustainable Development Goals.

 

OKEANOS AT UN OCEANS CONFERENCE

In 2017, Okeanos Foundation in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau and GLISPA created a summer-long exhibit in the United Nations Visitors Lobby to usher in the first ever Oceans Conference, dedicated to the implementation of UN Sustainable Goal 14 (to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development).

Okeanos’ Ocean Peoples exhibit featured the modern day  application of our traditional sailing canoes all throughout the Pacific – an exemplary model of how multiple SDGS can be met.

 

CULTURAL ICON

In 2012, Okeanos gifted four vakas from the Te Mana O Te Moana fleet to the voyaging societies of Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands and Tahiti. The significant impact of the Okeanos-gifted vakas can be seen throughout the Pacific as iconic symbols of cultural pride and hope for the future, featured on agency and government issued currency, stamps, tourism and policy promotional materials.

  • Okeanos Vaka Marumaru Atua of the Cook Islands Voyaging society is featured on the national currency
  • Okeanos’ Uto Ni Yalo sail under the Golden Gate bridge as part of the Te Mana O Te Moana international voyage is prominently featured on the Fiji national stamp
  • The NZ “Waka Warriors” TV series features Okeanos Master Navigator Tua Pittman and the Te Toki Voyaging Society
  • The Tahitian vaka Fa’afaite served as a model for the traditional Polynesian sailing vessels featured in the 2016 American 3D computer-animated musical adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios titled Moana

SYMBOL FOR CONSERVATION

 

MESSAGING HOPE

Along with its Pan-Pacific vaka initiatives, Okeanos Foundation also advances environmental awareness through feature films like Racing Extinction and The Starchasers, ocean science symposia and vaka-based conservation events throughout the Pacific.

  • Emmy-nominated film Racing Extinction was seen in 196 countries with over 35 million views during the broadcast premiere on Discovery, marking it as the most-watched TV documentary within the last four years.
  • Over 1 million students reached in classes in the U.S.
  • Projection events at the United Nations, Empire State Building, and the Vatican achieve a total 5.3 billion media impressions.
  • Over 26k members join the Racing Extinction Challenge, committed to lifestyle changes and social actions to better the environment.