Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paddling Times, upcoming fundraisers

Hey yorlye, last weekend had excellent conditions for paddling.  The wind and current provided an opportunity to get up some great speed going from Emily to Slaughter Bays, and some challenging conditions on the return.

It was great to see more people giving the steering a go!  The mid tide conditions are good learning times as more water over the reef.  The reef is shallowest on the sea side in front of the salthouse and there is more water over the reef on the salthouse side, so you can paddle right over the reef closer to the salthouse most times.

The challenge is up.  The morning crew of John,Kyla,Kath &Tony reported a return journey to slaughter bay of 9 minutes and some seconds(??)  I think we should have a prize for the first crew to be able to complete a full 180 degree turn in Slaughter Bay??  Anyway, all the people currently learning to steer are learning lots from having a go and if you've got a tip, put it on the blog or e-mail it around.

Damien brought 2 paddles he had made to the beach and gave them a test run.  They look fantastic laminated from local timbers. 
Our next fundraiser is the U18disco next Friday night 10th of December.  We're having a nibbles table this time, so if members could bring a plate of savoury or sweet nibbles that would be great.  Also as many members that can help with the running of the disco is much appreciated.

Preschoolers 5.30-7.00, Primary schoolers 7.00-9.00, Secondary school 9.00-11.30.  Cost is $5 entry and we have free face painting and nails, and some great glow products again and also some glow in the dark tattoo's ($1) this time.

Hope to see you there.
Anyone who happens to be at the beach when the canoe is in the water, you are more than welcome to come and have a paddle.  Saturday afternoons from 3pm.  Tania, Lou and Raewyn are meeting later on Saturday (around 5.00pm) and on Sundays from 3pm.  As soon as there are enough people to lift the canoe into the water, we get started.  Anyone is welcome to join us.  We are also looking at fitting in a Wednesday afternoon paddle at 4.00pm starting next Wednesday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New training times and meeting this Saturday

If you have time and wish to have a say at the next meeting, please come down to the beach at 3pm Saturday 27 November.  We hope to also talk about fundraising events and ideas for the future.

After the meeting, come and have a paddle on Tefauroa.

Paddling every Saturday and Sunday at 3pm.  Let's support our juniors by dedicating an hour to them,  say 3.30-4.30pm with adults.

The Norfolk Island Wa'a Outrigger Club has been going from strength to strength - in the club's short lifetime, we have paid for a beautiful outrigger and the club is swelling its ranks with new members.  Let's keep the spirit of John and Tihoti's vision of wa'a on the lagoon going!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Saturday November 13 paddling the Tefauroa, club meeting

These couple of images were from last Saturdays club meet at Emily Bay.  A short meeting to finalise organisation of the Quiz night fundraiser, then into the paddling.  It was a beautiful day on the water, with an incoming tide making for a bit of bounce through the channel between Emily and Slaughter bays.

The Tefauroa has been out of the water this week making adjustments to the seats, lowering them down and some fibreglass repairs to the hull.  She'll be back in the water soon.

At the previous meeting on the 5th November, we made a decision to increase membership fees to $30 to include the insurance.  Student fees are $15 and a Family $75.

At last Saturday's meeting, we agreed to look into the purchase of a second canoe, preferably fibreglass, so that it is lighter and can be carried easily by the women crews.  More on that at a later date

The Quiz night fundraiser is on Saturday 20th at 7pm at the Parish Centre.  We will be running a bar also.  Anyone wishing to offer help running the night or who would like to be included on a table should turn up on the night.  We will be setting up the hall at 5.30pm.  That's it for now.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Heavenly Blessing for Tefauroa

 (From Norfolk on Line 12/11/10 edition)

Sunday the 7th of November.  The day started off cloudy and grey, showers and wind whipping the island.  Typically for this time of year and the changing seasons, the skies had cleared by the early afternoon, just as it had done the previous weekend.  A heavenly blessing for the launch of Norfolk Island’s new outrigger canoe (in our language called wa’a).

The members of the Wa’a Club had gathered and set up gazebos, a BBQ for the snags, drinks, caps, and raffle tickets for an art prize.  The wa’a was carried from where it had been kept in the grassy coverage of the middle of Emily Bay’s sand dunes to the area opposite the ancient Polynesian marae.  Flowers were spread around the peripheries of the wa’a in tribute.

The ceremony began with Tihoti and John Christian, the founders of the club.  John addressed the 200 strong crowd of locals and tourists in English, explaining the significance of the ceremony, the short history of the club and thanking those who have been so kind with their donations (of special note was the Norfolk Island Government and the Minister for Sports) and the builder, Jason Chubb.  The club is also thankful to Slick and Joel for their generous donations for the BBQ.

Tihoti then began the Fa’ainura’a Ceremony.  This ancient ceremony is conducted for every new canoe of importance in Tahiti to show respect for the ocean, the elements and to ask the gods for protection - for the wa’a and the people paddling her.

With the sounding of the conch shell and his children Oihanu and Mauatua standing sentry, he began his oratory,
   O great Ocean!  Welcome!  O divinities of the ocean – welcome!  O great sun!  Welcome!  O divinities of the sun – welcome!  O wind of all directions!  Welcome!  O divinities of the winds – welcome!  To the sky, the land, welcome!
   Taaroa, founder of the world, of the thousand skies!  Welcome to you!  You are the lord of the sky and the land.  You are the ancestor of all the divinities, You are the great creator.  O Taaroa – welcome!
   -Second sounding of the conch-
   O Tane!  Welcome!  Tane the patron saint of all master canoe builders – divine Tane!  Here is our wa’a, here is TEFAUROA!  Here is our wa’a!  Here is TEFAUROA!  O divine Tane!  Come and cast your spell on Tefauroa! Make Tefauroa auspicious!  Oh Tane – welcome!
  -Tihoti sprinkles water from the bamboo held by Oihanu-
  O Tefauroa!  Here is the ocean water, here is the water of the great ocean.  Here is the water from the greatest marae of all!  Tefauroa, here is the seawater to baptise and bless you, to make you propitious.
  -Mauatua ‘faahei’ the wa’a by placing the flowers on the front and the back-
  O Tefauroa, here is a necklace of flowers from this land!  Here is the beauty that decorates this island!  The beauty of this island!  O Tefauroa!  We crown you today with these flowers.  O Tefauroa, you are our pride and joy today.
   O Tefauroa!  Welcome!
-Then came the Baunti Beauties (thank you Claudia, Kaitlin, Emily, Ashley, Mikiela, Tiffany) who danced so beautifully to the Norfolk Island ballads played by the Bumboras Band led by Don Reynolds.

During the ceremony, Kath King heard the call of a single red-tailed tropic bird, flying over the ceremony, watching from above.  For Tahitians, this is significative of the presence of the gods, that they have heard the impassioned prayers.

Once the ceremony closed, members of the club carried the newly baptised vessel to Emily Bay and she was launched into the calm waters paddled by Tihoti, Tarn, Phil and Matt.  There she stayed, paddled around and around the bay with many young and old having a go!  What a wonderful day it was!

So why does a wa’a need to be blessed with this thousand year old ceremony?  As Tihoti explains, the wa’a is a symbol for all Polynesian people  - a symbol of transport and communication between islands, of nourishment, the link between populations, sport, voyage and migration; and then there is the metaphysical symbolism …

All Tahitians know this allegory - it is used in sport, in schools, and by politicians and by everyone in their day-to-day lives.  If you have seen the Tahitian flag, you will know that it is dominated by a great voyaging wa’a (or va’a in Tahitian). 

In life, there is the past, the present, and the future.  You are alone on your wa’a - the future ahead and the past behind.  There are three seats.  When you sit at the front (in the future) the wa’a is difficult to paddle.  You can hardly move forward.  You change to the second seat, the present.  Although it’s better, it’s still hard to manoeuvre the wa’a.  So you sit at the back, looking forward from the past. From there you are better able to find your direction, the wa’a is easy to paddle and you are able to advance.

So it is in life, when we are in the present, look behind; study your history so that you might find the lessons and guidance to know how to go ahead at this moment and into the future.  Today many people are in the first chair.  Look to the past to understand the present and navigate through the future. 

It is the club’s aim to purchase more canoes and that more Norfolk Island women and men will join, and that the junior ranks will swell.  What a wonderful opportunity for our youth to learn this sport of their ancestors and perhaps one day participate in international competitions against our Pacific cousins - affirmation of our undeniable connection to other Pacific Island communities.

Good luck Tefauroa!  (P. Reynolds)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tefauroa's Official Launching at Emily Bay

What a fantastic day.  A very powerful blessing performed by Tihoti, Mauataua and Oihanu Barff.  A crowd of around 200, locals and visitors gathered to witness the official launching of Tefauroa.

This image shows Tihoti sounding the conche.

 Pride on the face of Tihoti watching Mauataua placing leis on the Tefauroa as part of the ceremony.  The day went just perfect.  The sky cleared, the wind left, I don't think we could have asked for a better day.
 The Baunti Beauties performed around the Tefauroa with accompaniment by the Bumboras Band.
 The Bumboras Band providing music and song for the island dancing troupe who are travelling to Tahiti next year.
 Thanks to Eve and Doug Creek from "Framed" who donated the signwriting of the Tefauroa to the club.  Eve and Doug have been a great support to us, completing some of the framing of the works we raffled earlier, in August.
 A birds eye view, Matt, Phil, Tania and Tihoti demonstrating their skill guiding the Tefauroa around the raft in Emily Bay.
The beautiful scene in Emily Bay as the Tefauroa and crew set a path towards the raft in Emily Bay.
Tony and the girls doing a great job bringing the Tefauroa full circle around the bay and heading back to shore.

All in all a great day had by all.  Thanks to everyone who helped in setting up and making the day special to the club.  Thankyou to the support from the Tour companies, Baunti Escapes, Norfolk Touring and Pinetree Tours for promoting the event amongst the visitors.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pre-launch trials of Wa'a Tefauroa

Article from Norfolk on Line 5/11/10

“This one word contains the secret of all first-class va’a teams:
Taho’e. Union.
To come together and be as one.
Be it with the Va’a Ono (6 man outrigger canoe) or the Va’a Ho’e (single man canoe)
The paddler cannot expect to be able to brave the elements
with only pride and ego at his defence.
The paddler, the va’a, and the ocean must be as one.
The va’a is the model of how fraternity
 and unity works in a group. 
Each paddler is an essential part of the whole.
At the front (mua) is the fa’ahoro:
 he gives the speed of the stroke to the rest of the team.
The peperu, at the back, gives the direction. 
Those at the centre (tura’i) are the motor and give the va’a speed and power.
The combination of unity and coordination makes the wa’a like a fish in water
 half airborne, half aquatic. 
She skims across the surface of the water, speeding along like a flying fish.”
(Tihoti Barff-Faara)

Last Saturday, 30 October, saw the pre-launch lagoon trials of the first Norfolk Island built Tahitian-style va’a outrigger canoe (or wa’a in our Norf’k language). 

A few men met out at Farmer Lou’s shed where Jason had spent hours manufacturing the sacred vessel – sacred to the men now gingerly hovering over her and figuring how to safely transport her to the opposite end of the island to Emily Bay. 

They envisaged the journey down the slope of Grassy Road, through Burnt Pine town centre, and then the best of the steep winding routes to get safely Daun a Taun (Kingston).   She was eventually securely fastened onto the Evans’ vege delivery truck with a few silent prayers under the breath; and the pilgrimage began to our beloved Emily Bay.

It began as a cold and blustery day with many supporters looking on, but the club members barely noticed … their sole focus was the Wa’a Tefauroa.  Her safe arrival at the beach and attachment of the ama (outrigger) meant the trials could begin! 

She was carefully placed into the water and taken for her debut paddle. Over and over, she went out, skimming the peripheries of Emily Bay, turning into Slaughter Bay and back again, stopping in at shore just long enough re-adjust the ama and change paddlers so everyone could have a try.

As time progressed, we were blessed with ‘4 seasons in one day’, and it ended up as one of those exquisite afternoons where the sun played ecstatically on the waters and those of us on shore looked on in wonder; in wonder at the extraordinary loveliness of the dancing light and waters.  Tihoti felt we were being blessed from above.  My daughter said to me, ‘Look Mama, I can see the heavens’.  And I found myself thinking of those very first Polynesian visitors to Norfolk Island.  They must have come through the Emily Bay passage on their own sea-worthy wa’a at some stage before inhabiting Norfolk Island in the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries AD.  What an historic event this was!

 First adjustments and boys patting themselves on their backs!
 Mixed teams ... a good sign - Matt, Kyla, Taan, Tihoti
 Mixed ages - Tihoti, Suzanne, Reuben, Matt
 Papas and sons - Matt & James, Tihoti & Oihanu and a gleaming Emily Bay
 Heading into the sparkling waters ...
 The blessing has already happened ...
We can only hope for a replay next weekend when the Wa’a Tefauroa is given a traditional blessing and officially launched.  If you are on Norfolk Island on Sunday, come down to Emily Bay at 2pm where there will be Island dancing, canoe rides and a sausage sizzle.  We can hardly wait!

History of the name Tefauroa from HMS Bounty to Point Venus to Emily Bay

Norfolk On Line article published 29/10/10
(pron. wah-ah te-faw-roh-ah)

On the 26th at four o'clock in the morning, having run twenty-five leagues from Maitea, we brought to till daylight, when we saw Point Venus bearing south-west by west, distant about four leagues.  As we drew near a great number of canoes came off to us.

So wrote William Bligh in A Voyage to the South Sea upon the arrival of HMS Bounty at Tahiti on the 26th of October 1788 (222 years ago almost to the day). It would be an ill-fated voyage for him, and the beginning of a new people - aklan!

As many of you know, many of us would later celebrate the Tahitian Bounty Day at Point Venus and Matavai Bay (in the district of Mahina) on the 27th of October each year marking the day the Bounty crew first set foot on Tahiti.  The first step toward the future which would be life changing for every soul onboard … and for many Tahitians ashore.

But back to the early history of the Matavai and Point Venus area …

In 1767 Captain Wallis on the HMS Dolphin arrived at Matavai Bay.  Originally another ship, HMS Swallow, accompanied Wallis under the command of Philip Carteret, but the two ships lost sight of each other forcing them to sail separately.  Wallis subsequently ‘discovered’ Tahiti, and Carteret ‘discovered’ and named Pitcairn Island.

Cook was the next to arrive in 1769 under instruction to observe the transit of Venus.  He set up camp on the point to the east of Matavai Bay, constructed a small fort and observatory, and christened the area Point Venus.  He would return a further 2 times – it was known to be his favorite anchorage in the South Pacific. 

A gap of 11 years followed until the Lady Penrhyn, a British transport, arrived after having delivered women convicts to New South Wales.  The scene was now set for the arrival of the Bounty.  The rest, as they say, is history.

This area is the most northern part of Tahiti.  Prior to European contact it was a place where less important chiefs ruled; but with each visit the Matavai Bay area (and its chiefs) grew in importance. From Wallis’ time onward all contact with English ships took place here, and their favoritism of the area changed the local dynamics and upset the balance of Tahitian politics giving far more importance to the local chiefs than they had previously enjoyed.

To Tahitians, Point Venus was known as Te Otu’e no Tefauroa or simply Tefauroa – a place where many legends were centered around the goddess Hina. 

Hina used to swim at Tefauroa. The villagers loved to watch her because she was very beautiful. They would whisper, “Ua ma o Hina,  Hina is clean. The district became known as Ma-hina.  Afterwards she would walk to the area where the river separates the point from the beach (close to the public showers for those of you who have visited – see photo of Isaac and Oihanu), and gaze into the peaceful waters to look at her reflection.  The bay and river became known as Mata-vai making legendary the moment she saw her face (mata) in the water (vai).

Sylvia Herrman and much of her family still live in the Mahina district. They descend from Edward Young and Mauatua.  Many of us have stayed and visited her over the years.  By her side, as I wrote earlier, we have celebrated the Tahitian Bounty Day at Matavai/Tefauroa and on the first occasion in 2005, a monument was erected to commemorate the Bounty connection to the area.

Recently, back here on Norfolk Island, a marvelous venture begun by John Christian and Tihoti (aka Georges) grew into the Norfolk Island Wa’a Outrigger Club with a steady growth of members.  The club is about to see its first wa’a (Norf’k for the Tahitian va’a) christened on Sunday 7th of November at 2pm down at Emily Bay – where the members of the club will have their first trial paddle on the much-awaited outrigger canoe. 

The name?  Tefauroa of course!  Our history begins there and bringing this Tahitian sport to Norfolk Island is loaded with symbolism.  The wa’a was built following plans drawn up by Leslie, Sylvia’s son, who is a champion paddler – a priceless gift of great generosity.  Jason Chubb built the wa’a with great care right here on Norfolk and for that we can be so very proud! 

Come down to the beach and help celebrate this wonderful event.  The launch will begin with a traditional Tahitian blessing ceremony.  

There will be refreshments available.