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COOK ISLANDS’ TE AU O TONGA SAILS TO AMERICAN SAMOA Journey expected to take five or six days

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, July 16, 2008) – The vaka Te Au O Tonga [departed] a couple of hours after the blessing and the farewell of the double-hulled canoe to American Samoa last night.

Referring to the vaka's first voyage in 1995 when it had to return after leaving the harbour, Cook Islands Voyaging Society President Ian Karika said that they wanted to make sure that the vessel was ready for the voyage. A couple hundred people were at Avatiu harbour just after 4pm for the blessing.

A big steering oar carved by Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp will be presented by the vaka crew to American Samoa festival organizers, on behalf of the country.

Readers can track the daily progress of Te Au O Tonga on its voyage to and from Pago Pago by logging onto the CIVS website.

Thee website be updated by Summerfield Systems as soon as GPS coordinates are obtained during the day. Any news from the crew will also be published under the 'latest communications' section. There is also a photo gallery at which will be updated once the vaka arrives in Pago Pago. Crew member Nick Henry will also be doing live radio updates on 88FM between 10 and 10.30am each morning.

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