TE AU O TONGA

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COOK ISLANDS VOYAGING SOCIETY

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

SOUTH PACIFIC TRADE COMMISSION Auckland, New Zealand

News Release September 22, 1999

TE AU O TONGA IS ON HER WAY

"The double-hulled voyaging canoe Te Au O Tonga left Rarotonga on September 22nd bound for Auckland. The ocean crossing is expected to take two weeks. Te Au O Tonga will represent the sailing traditions of the Pacific Islands at the opening ceremonies for the America's Cup regatta on October 15th. The challenge for the America's Cup begins with the Louis Vuitton Cup races, which get under way on October 18th.

Te Au O Tonga is one of the most respected canoes currently sailing the South Pacific. She has sailed to Ra'iatea, Hawai‘i, the Marquesas, the Society Islands, the Tuamotus, Samoa and Tonga and has made a previous visit to Auckland, covering in all some 24,000 nautical miles of the old Polynesian voyaging routes.

She was designed and built by Sir Tom Davis, the former Prime Minister of the Cook Islands. Sir Tom took her design from the drawings of the Tepa'irua of Tahiti as documented by Captain Cook's expeditions. She is owned by the Cook Islands Voyaging Society.

After her arrival in Auckland in early October, her crew will attend a powhiri at Orakei Marae. In the opening ceremonies for the America's Cup regatta being held on the afternoon of October 15th in Viaduct Harbour, Te Au O Tonga will be playing a prominent role in the pageant. She will represent a recognition of the Pacific's first sailors and one of humanity's greatest sailing traditions, the voyaging canoes that peopled the Pacific Islands."

For additional information, contact: Peter Thomson Tel: (09) 378 0075 E-mail: peter@thompac.co.nz 

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