Saturday, December 02, 2006

News: Following stars into the Unknown

Those living in or visiting New Zealand might be interested in the Auckland Museum's new Vaka Moana exhibit on Polynesian seafaring and migrations:

Athena Hale prepares a copy of Abel Tasman's journal for the exhibition. Picture / Paul Estcourt

Following the stars into the unknown

Saturday December 2, 2006
By Angela Gregory

Auckland Museum hopes New Zealanders will do a bit of "way-finding" to discover a ground-breaking exhibition about the Polynesian migration across the Pacific Ocean.

The ancestors of today's Pacific peoples travelled the vast oceans 4000 years ago by a method of navigation traditionally known as way-finding, based on observations of the sea and sky.

The migration story is central to the Vaka Moana exhibition in the new exhibition space, part of the Dome museum extension.

It is the first comprehensive exhibition to explain the latest findings on the origins of the Pacific peoples, and how they migrated by sea, thousands of years before the oceanic forays of the Vikings, Portuguese and Spaniards.

The word vaka, used in Tokelau and elsewhere, is one of the variations of the Polynesian word for canoe including waka (New Zealand) and va'a (Samoa and Tahiti).

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Paul Kekai Manansala