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‘Uto Ni Yalo’ to join flotilla to Hawaii next year

By Jone Luvenitoga APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 22, 2009) - THE launch of the canoe Uto Ni Yalo (Heart of souls) could not have come at a better time than the opening of the South Pacific Pageant yesterday.

Blessed with a kaleidoscope of culture, religion and tradition that reflects the way of the Pasifika seafarers, the official launch was honoured by the presence of contestants who will compete for the Miss South Pacific crown this year.

The canoe ferried the [visiting] queens from Laucala Bay near Suva to the Fiji capital where the official opening of the festival was to take place.

Launched in the early hours of yesterday morning, the British High Commissioner and chief guest, Malcolm McLachlan, said the day marked a new era for the newly-formed Fiji Islands Voyaging Society (FIVS).

"I am proud to note that an objective of the FIVS is to contribute to sustainable development and preservation of the Fiji Islands marine and land environment through resource renewal and public education," said Mr. McLachlan.

In June next year, he said a flotilla of canoes would sail from Fiji to Hawaii to advocate the protection of our ocean environment and rekindle traditional voyaging, sailing and navigational skills.

"People of the Pacific rely a great deal on marine life, which is constantly subjected to global warming and climate change."

He said the world was 15 days away from Copenhagen 2009 where 8,000 people representing 170 countries would meet on the prevention of global warming and climate change.

"These challenges are real and urgent," said Mr. McLachlan. "Therefore, I am very encouraged to see Pacific Island countries taking action to protect and preserve their ocean environment."

Mr. McLachlan extended the wishes of Queen Elizabeth and her people that Pacific voyaging may remain a symbol of the close Pacific traditional links and its people.

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