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Samoa Voyaging Society (Aiga Folau o Samoa) looks for new crew to man Samoa’s Va’atele, Gaualofa

Utulei, American Samoa – March 7, 2016 – The Samoa Voyaging Society (SVS) is recruiting new crewmembers for the Samoa’s Va’atele Gaualofa. The Va’atele Gaualofa is a traditional Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe, which belongs to the Samoan community and is currently in her home port Apia, Samoa.

“We are looking for people who are adventurous and passionate about Samoan or Polynesian voyaging and who want to have an experience of a lifetime! The Gaualofa belongs to the people of Samoa, and not just independent Samoa, but all Samoan people.” says Gaualofa’s spokesperson. “It is with that in mind that we are extending our recruiting efforts to American Samoa and we are hoping in gaining interest from our brothers and sisters in Tutuila and Manu’a”.

Assisting with the recruiting efforts in American Samoa is local non-profit group Le Vasa. Le Vasa has undertaken the task of reviving traditional voyaging in American Samoa as it is a critical part of Samoan cultural and national heritage. “The Samoa Voyaging Society in neighboring Samoa is doing a great job reviving this extremely important part of our history and culture.” said Le Vasa spokesperson Michael McDonald. “Our ancestors, ancient Samoans, were pioneers in exploration and by many accounts accomplished one of the greatest feats in human history by settling all of Polynesia using traditional wayfinding techniques long before Europeans were leaving their coastlines. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure this part of our heritage and culture is celebrated and more importantly preserved for posterity.” Le Vasa is currently working on fundraising efforts to bring the Gaualofa to American Samoa in support of reviving traditional voyaging, promoting conservation and ecotourism.

The Va’atele Gaualofa was provided to Samoa Voyaging Society or Aiga Folau o Samoa by the Okeanos Foundation in 2009 via a lease to purchase agreement. In 2012, Okeanos founder Dieter Paulmann and his wife Hanna gifted Gaualofa to the Samoan People under the care of SVS. Gaualofa was also 1 of the 7 canoes that travelled over 30,000 nautical miles with the Pacific Voyagers to reconnect with the traditions, with Pacific communities and to promote conservation of our oceans.

Gaualofa Captain Fealofani Bruun is the first Samoan to captain the Gaualofa and she is also the first Samoan tautai (traditional captain) in 150 years. Ms. Bruun learned to sail at the Pago Pago Yatch Club in American Samoa.

For persons interested in applying to join the crew, email your name, village, and contact information to before March 12th or contact the Facebook page ‘Samoan Voyagers’. No prior sailing experience is required however you must be 18 years old or older. All new crewmembers will receive training in sailing, navigation and environment conservation as well as team-building with the existing crew. After training is completed, qualified crewmembers will spend several days a week sailing and maintaining the Va’a, before anticipated voyages to American Samoa, Tokelau and Hawaii.

For more information on this article and local efforts to revive traditional Polynesian voyaging in American Samoa, contact Le Vasa at 633-3050 or visit their website at

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