Tātou o tagata folau. Pacific Development Through Learning Traditional Voyaging on the Waka Hourua, Haunui.
Pacific development is happening in Aotearoa New Zealand through learning traditional voyaging on Haunui, a waka hourua or double-hulled sailing canoe. This study examines the experiences of nine Haunui crew members who self-identify as Pacific which were shared over a series of talanoa sessions.
It proposes six key elements of Pacific development and compares them with the crew members’ experiences. It employs Pacific research methods and methodologies and introduces a new data analysis tool, Mālolo. The results show a strong alignment between the crew members’ experiences of learning on Haunui with the key elements of Pacific development. They also demonstrate the essential role of culture and identity, the relevance of Pacific ancestors’ knowledge, science, and beliefs in solving modern issues, and the importance of honouring relationships between social, spiritual, and environmental realms. They prove the value of a Pacific-centric approach to Pacific development that facilitates Pacific people developing themselves and each other across colonial borders while honouring Pacific people’s deep connection to the ocean as tagata folau.
This research has decolonisation aspirations and builds on the pan-Pacific identity by acknowledging Aotearoa New Zealand as part of the Pacific and by acknowledging Pacific peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand as the same but different from their island counterparts. Traditional voyaging on Haunui delivers on Pacific development and can inform other development initiatives in the Pacific, including those for Pacific peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand.