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One of the worlds greatest migrations across the Pacific Ocean is to be re-enacted using ancient seafaring skills and a fleet of traditional canoes, currently being built in New Zealand.
The voyage from French Polynesia to Hawaii next year will not only recreate history but also regenerate Polynesias ancestral traditions and legendary voyaging skills that date back thousands of years.
Three of the six double-hulled canoes being built for the journey have already been completed in Auckland, and another three should be finished by November
Although identical in construction, each of the six canoes will be finished in the colours, motifs and carving of the islands they are going to.
New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa and Tahiti will all provide captains and crew for the historic voyage. Captains have already been chosen, and crews will soon begin training.
New Zealand actor Rawiri Patene, best known for his role in Whale Rider, helped to obtain funding for the project from the German ocean environmental foundation Okeanos
Pacific Voyaging Canoes manager Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp says its hoped the project will build Polynesian pride and identity by highlighting the achievements of ancestors who settled small islands scattered on a vast ocean covering more than a quarter of the globe.
"What is more important than the short-term vision of sailing to Hawaii is the long-term vision of regenerating the voyaging skills and traditions of our ancestors," said Nepia-Clamp.
"Our ancestors made these canoes watertight with inadequate timber, using stone tools to drill and caulk them, lashing them together with coconut fibre rope. And then they made these incredible voyages thousands of years before the Europeans were confident to go out of the sight of land."
Polynesian navigators used the stars, sun, knowledge of sea swells and winds to steer a course