Two thousand residents in ten villages on Moturiki Island, Lomaiviti province officially received five Camakau or traditionally designed wind sailing canoes in a ‘Cere’ ceremony that support ongoing efforts of community fish wardens who monitor five marine managed areas.
The canoes are six meters long and powered by a wind sail as well as a paddle. Inspired by traditional seafaring knowledge of canoe building from the Pacific region, it is made from plywood and hardwood, bamboo alongside modern materials such as epoxy resin, dacron sailcloth and braided rope.
Uto ni Yalo Trustee Dwain Qalovaki stated that canoe building was historically an important industry for ancient Fijians and efforts were made to blend the shared traditional seafaring knowledge from the region with modern materials.
The Uto ni Yalo Trust began it’s “One Hundred Canoe Building” program in 2019 with eight full time staff and provided training to over one hundred youth and eighty community members from nine of Fiji’s fifteen provinces.
The goal is to support the establishment of traditional canoe building sites in the Fijian archipelago through construction, sail and maintenance training.