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Traditional voyaging canoes celebrated

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 16, 2009) – The first canoe festival of its kind gets underway next week in Yap State, in the Federated States of Micronesia,

Humans first arrived in the Pacific thousands of years ago, using wooden hulled sailing canoes, guided only by knowledge of the stars.

Today the world’s first ocean-going technology is undergoing a major revival.

Yapese boatbuilders think their canoes are becoming more useful than ever, as fuel prices rise and the islanders’ lives are threatened by rising and warming seas.

The organiser of the festival, Paul Lane, says traditional canoes deserve to be celebrated in Yap and around the world.

"The world’s first ocean-going technology is the reason why people got going, that’s the wanting to explore to go to new places, the need to explore and go to new places for the survival of humanity. That’s what it’s all about. People needing to find new places."

Paul Lane hopes the canoe races and interisland voyages will generate more enthusiasm for this old craft.

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