Waka flotilla demonstrates connections across the Pacific

The welcoming of traditional canoes marked the official arrival of the visiting delegations to the 12th Pacific Arts Festival in Guam. Ocean voyagers travelled for over two months by sea for the occasion.

On the shores of Guam the "Chamorro" sang songs of welcome to the flotilla of waka arriving for the Pacific Arts Festival.

In a demonstration of the cultural connection in the nations of the Pacific.

Frank Cruz (Chamorro, Iwi-Kainga) says, “We have opportunities like this and we go around and try to polish things up we realise how beautiful it is and how we kind of just let it go a little bit.” 

Hoturoa Kerr represented NZ among the group being welcomed to shore.

“There is benefit here in listening to others and getting a wider perspective on traditional waka. This is why it is great to sit alongside the experts here from around the Pacific. To witness this tradition which is still alive,” hei tā Kerr.

The Pacific Arts Festival has been held every four years since 1972.  27 Pacific nations are participating, with this traditional canoe ceremony marking the start of events. 

Tua Pittman (Cook Islands, Kaiwhakatere Waka) says, “This year's festival it's all about sharing what we know and pacific voices speaking as one I think that is very important because at some stage somebody came and drew lines between, Melanesian, Micronesia and Polynesia When our ancestors were around there were no barriers, there were no boundaries it was one Pacific Ocean it was one pacific people.”

It's an ancient custom the traditional canoe welcome in the Pacific Arts Festival, it symbolises the oneness of the people, islands and the canoes.