Jun 6, 2019

Marumaru Atua — Upcoming Welcoming Home Ceremony

in category Uncategorized

As our ohana from the Cook Islands Voyaging Society are approaching the home country of their vaka Marumaru Atua, we would like to share with you three selected blogs that were written during their current journey from Auckland, New Zealand, back home. One blog is from the crew’s departure date on Saturday, 18th of May, the second from 9 days later, and the final one is by Maurai Villa, a former Okeanos crew member who was also featured in our last newsletter.

We hope you enjoy reading this voyaging blogs extract. If you want to be kept updated about the vaka’s arrival in Avatiu which is scheduled for today, June 6, and the following welcoming home ceremony please visit The Cook Islands Voyaging Society Facebook page where you can also find more great crew blogs.

Saturday, 18th of May

Kia Orana

19 months after the devastating fire onboard Marumaru Atua in September 2017, our vaka is now on her way home.

The port hull and undamaged components left Rarotonga on the 28th of December 2018 and arrived in Auckland on the 9th of January 2019.  Meitaki maata to Matson’s shipping for the safe transportation.  Also thanks to Daryll Crooke at Atlas International, Ports of Auckland and our whanau from Ngati Whatua for performing a short blessing before being transported by Boat Haulage to Lloyd Stevenson Boat Builders in East Tamaki.

We were blessed that Lloyds allowed our team of volunteers to work tirelessly at nights, during the week and on weekends to repair the existing hull and components while they built a new hull for Marumaru Atua.

On the 3rd of May, she made a quiet return to Moana-nui-o-Kiva and has since undergone rigorous sea trials for the voyage home.

Yesterday on Saturday 18th of May, Marumaru Atua departed Auckland for home, under the leadership of Te Toki Voyaging Trust Captain John-Reid Willison and his crew of 13. We are fortunate that John has made himself available to deliver our vaka home.

Their position as of 7am this morning after an awesome night surfing the waves while they all got into the groove things, the moon light up the deck to made things more comfortable for the new crew settling in.

Position S 35’55.8 – E 176’52.6
Heading Ngoi ki Tokerau
Speed 10 kts

On behalf of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society we wish to thank our Government, Nia Tero, Mr & Mrs Gordon, Matson’s Shipping, Okeanos Foundation for the Sea, Lloyd Stevensons and the many other generous donors for your financial support and in kind donations and of course to our vaka family for lending a hand for the much need work on our mama.

Te Atua Te Aroa
Cook Islands Voyaging Society

Wednesday, 29th of May

Kia Orana anau,

Made good ground today, getting further East. Lining up for a good run up towards Rarotonga hopefully. Crew in high spirits enjoying the higher winds, and the experience of moderate sea. Maru sailing strong, all well.

Position = S 30’13.30 – W 168’29.07
Heading = Kainga ki Marangai
Speed = 5.6kts

Wind = Manu
Predominant swell = Manu

Crew Blog #9 – Dickie Humphries

Kia orana te iti tangata,

Hello reader welcome to memoirs of the moana. 12th day ditterings by Dickie.

I say 12th day, that’s our official count of days at sea, but time has a very different quality out here. Ungoverned by watches and smartphones, time is measured by what meal is up next, if the moon is still up, if i’m greeting the sun or saying goodnight to him. Then time seems to disappear completely between the end of the night watch and start of morning watch, no sooner do I roll over to go to sleep it seems someone is telling me a new day has begun. I’m learning that the time we so desperately chase on land is just an invention, finding our rhythm with the day and the night, with rest and action, with yourself and each other, with atu and with mai, is more of a flow than a chase.

The ocean today is playful, and the game today is bullrush! He pulls back and comes rushing at us, goes in for the tackle and bam! splash! We all laugh, and hold on. A few days ago he looked like an expansive film of liquid Mercury. Not a single movement bar a subtle, rise and fall, as if the seabed were taking in slow, deep breaths, 5,000 meter deep breaths. It was that day I realised this is our iconic landscape, our personal seascape. This vastly beautiful, dynamic wonder, is to us as the rainforest is to her people, as the Sahara is to her people, as the great African plains are to her people. Our great wonder has a thousand faces, shimmering pink on the edges of dawn, an infinite blue descending to the depths, white capped waves ushering us closer to our destination.

At night he sparks electric blue, glow in the dark plankton ignited by our movement through the water. Mirrored by the milky way above us, a path of stars cut through the night sky. As I look out to these wonders, it could be day 12 or it could be a thousand years ago. There is no urban development in the night sky or in the ocean sunrise. It is exactly how our ancestors saw the world.

To my family who came to see us off, who ordinarily wouldn’t see me off at the airport, but that day were on the dock with tears in their eyes. They need only be tears of joy my family. It feels so right to be here, it’s not easy, I’ll admit that, you know how I like my sleep-ins, but the reward comes a thousand fold.

A quick note for Jett: A reminder, from out here in the middle of goodness knows where- that I love you. And shame, yes this is a public forum lol. It’s really important to keep our hearts and minds on the vaka, but when my thoughts do run back to land, it’s to you they run to. The dolphins you wished we would see, we saw them darling! They were such show-offs with their acrobatics, it was the best show on Earth. Thanks for sending them our way. I’ve lost count of the number of shooting stars I’ve seen, but I spend all my wishes on you. Miss you babe.

For everyone else who has read this far and didn’t get seasick off the last segment, I need to finish by conveying this huge sense of gratitude I’ve been carrying around. I’m deeply grateful for my Captain continuously giving his knowledge and for trusting I had retained enough of it to be of some use on this voyage.

I am grateful for my crew, who’s first qualification is they are genuine and sincere people. I am grateful to hold some thread of our ancestors sense of adventure, resilience, innovation, awareness, and wisdom. I’m grateful for our mother canoe, Marumaru Atua, who cares for us. And I’m grateful for all the spiritual protection that guides us and keeps us safe.Yours in compassion


Dickie is of Mitiaro descent from the Tumuenua and Tutini families, he grew up in Mangere, South Auckland.  It has been his long held dream to sail under the traditions and techniques of our ancestors.

Sunday, 2nd of June

Kia orana anau,

Stable wind conditions, holding good speed. Crew preparing cook-off for lunch with the spin-off that they’re not allowed to use the oven or cook-top. Should be an interesting lunch.

Making good ways, trying to stay as pinched as possible as we let these winds pass through. Hopefully over the next two days we will have more favourable winds. Crew getting even more comfortable with each other now, competitions have begun and we believe we have almost depleted all stock of secret chocolate snacks. Began adjusting watches to the different time zone so our 5pm became 7pm today, making more sense of our sunlight hours through the day.

Position = S 28’00.0 – W 162’48.1
Heading = Kainga ki Tokerau
Speed = 5 kts

Wind = Nga Reo ki Tokerau
Predominant swell = Nga Reo ki Tokerau

Crew blog #13 – Maurai Villa

Iaorana Ia ‘outou paatoa,

It’s been 16 days since we have been out at sea, everything is going really well. I believe all the crew is as happy as I am. All looking very healthy and beautiful/handsome.
Guess what, I got new brothers and sisters now. I’m looking at my watch mates helping each other on the hoe and it fills my heart with warmth. Fatigue is upon us but we are united and help one another.

Our vaka is handling perfectly, just like I wanted her to. Marumaru Atua never looked so good, the repairs and changes she has received is giving her unprecedented sailing ability.
She’s strong, she glides through the elements and I’m going to make sure she stays like that, she deserves it.

From our actual position, the wind is blowing straight from Rarotonga, North-East.  Forcing us to either sail North or East, bugger. Quite a detour you might think, just the singular pleasure of sailing

But oh well we’ll get there folks, no worries.
Just hang on we can’t wait to see you all too whanau.

Looking forward to all the celebrations and all of that, kia manuia

Maurai’s first voyage on Marumaru Atua was in 2014, he sailed with Captain Peia from Rarotonga, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, Gold Coast, Sydney, Auckland for the IUCN World Parks Congress.

In 2015 he joined Peia on vaka motu Rangi.  And since then he has been under the guidance of Peia with the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea working and sailing on the vaka motu project at Lloyd Stevensons and throughout the Pacific.  During the rebuild he volunteered in his spare time.  At the end of March he became a full time employee of CIVS to help complete the project before the deadline of the end of April. We are very fortunate to have Maurai’s skills and experience and are grateful to Okeanos for giving him the opportunity to learn and share his skills with CIVS.  Okeanos Foundation gifted Marumaru Atua to the people of the Cook Islands in 2012 under the care of CIVS. Meitaki Maata to Okeanos for their continued support especially through the last challenging 18 months.

We would like to again acknowledge and thank all those that have volunteered their time during the rebuild, both here in Rarotonga and Aotearoa.  The more hands that touch our vaka, the more mana she has.  As a non-profit organisation, we have always relied on volunteers for the past 25 years to function.  When Marumaru Atua returns we will continue to promote voyaging, cultural ancestry whilst highlighting the urgent need to protect and conserve our Marae Moana.

“We need to respect the oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on it.  Because they do.”  Sylvia Earle