As momentum from across the Pacific builds for global action against climate change, members of Fiji’s Uto ni Yalo crew provided a traditional welcome for boat crew members from the Cook Islands and Samoan voyaging canoes who arrived into Suva today armed with their message on people, oceans and climate change.
The Samoan, Tongan and Cook Islander crews who arrived on the Marumaru Atua and the Gaualofa were accorded a full traditional welcome at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Suva, as the voyaging canoes prepare to travel with the Uto ni Yalo and New Zealand’s Haunui to the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Collectively, the Mua voyage will convey the Pacific Island’s message to the world about Our People, Our Islands, Our Ocean, Our Future. The people of the Pacific have rich and diverse cultures shaped by the environment, with islands and communities connected as guardians of the great ocean. But the ocean is being overexploited. The effects of climate change – rising sea levels, rising temperatures, ocean acidification and more intense storms – are damaging crops, threatening food security, affecting freshwater tables and intruding into island homes.
The Pacific people are calling for partnerships to help sustain the Pacific Islands for future generations and for the health of the planet.
Over the next week, crew members from the Uto ni Yalo, Gaualofa and Marumaru Atua will continue to engage members of the public about the significance of the Mua voyage and will meet with key stakeholders including policy makers, scientists and conservation partners.
The Mua voyage will depart Suva on Monday 13 October, 2014 and will berth into ports in Vanuatu and Australia before sailing into Sydney Harbour on the opening day of the World Parks Congress, where it will be accorded a further traditional welcome by Australian government officials and Indigenous representatives.