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    Re: Polynesian canoes set off from New Zealand to Raiatea (French Polynesia)
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2010 Apr 19, 18:02 +0100

    Peter Fogg drew our attention to the following press release, copied below
    and to be found, in the Sydney Morning Herald and elsewhere, such as-
    We would be well-advised to take such details with a pinch of salt, as with
    all such publicity material.
    It differs significantly from a BBC report, at -
    though I wouldn't choose to credit one or the other with a monopoly on
    For example, a "fleet of replica canoes" has become "... fibreglass hulls
    which have been lashed together with wooden beams and ropes." Not much of a
    replica, then. In that small picture, details of the rig are rather hard to
    make out, but it looks suspiciously like alloy spars and wire stays; hardly
    a Polynesian tradition..
    And I note that an earlier canoe from the Cook Islands Voyaging Society was
    fitted with an engine, so it's worth asking whether these are, too. Which,
    if so, may well be a wise precaution, but may raise questions about the
    genuine achievement in any "re-enactment". The publicity material may well
    be reticent about such matters, but they are legitimate questions that need
    asking, and answering. Another question is whether the four canoes are to
    be accompanied by a conventional "guide vessel".
    The very different notions about the expected duration of the voyage, in
    the two reports, are notable.
    Nowadays, the papers tend to publish such hand-out material as-is, without
    any questions asked. Such is the degradation of the press.
    contact George Huxtable, at  george@hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Peter Fogg" 
    Sent: Monday, April 19, 2010 6:35 AM
    Subject: [NavList] Polynesian canoes set off from New Zealand to Raiatea
    (French Polynesia)
    WELLINGTON: Nearly 1000 years after the last of the great Polynesian
    migration journeys across the Pacific, a group of descendants have set sail
    in a fleet of replica canoes to relive the voyages.
    Four double-hulled canoes with crews of up to 16 people left Auckland
    yesterday to sail 4000 kilometres to the French Polynesian island of
    Raiatea is believed to have been the departure point for the last great
    Polynesian migrations to New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island between 700
    and 1000 years ago.
    The crews - from New Zealand, Fiji and the Cook Islands, and a
    multinational one from Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga - expect that the voyage
    will take 20 to 25 days.
    They will then be joined by a Tahitian crew for a voyage of 1200 kilometres
    to the Cook Islands before returning to their home ports.
    ''It will be the first time since the great migration that a fleet of
    canoes has sailed from Raiatea to Rarotonga [in the Cook Islands] on that
    sacred route down to New Zealand,'' said Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp, the
    acting president of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society.
    With strong winds and clear skies, the captain of the New Zealand canoe,
    Magnus Danbolt, told Radio New Zealand that the weather would be perfect
    for the next few days but the crews would have to be vigilant and look out
    for each other.
    The 22-metre, twin-masted canoes were built over the past year.
    Agence France-Presse

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