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$820 pledged of $19,000 goal
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By Vaka Taumako Project of PTS
$820 pledged of $19,000 goal
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About this project

Dixon Wia(standing) interviews Captain Ambrose, with Wade Fairley filming, for a segment of "We, the Voyagers".
Dixon Wia(standing) interviews Captain Ambrose, with Wade Fairley filming, for a segment of "We, the Voyagers".

For thousands of years, the people of Taumako made voyages to share food, meet marriage partners, and maintain family relationships with people of other islands,  They used, and still use, knowledge passed down from their ancestor named Lata-- the first person to build an sail a voyaging canoe.  They build and navigate, garden, fish, trade, and explore using ancient methods, designs and materials. This knowledge was passed on from master to apprentice for thousands of years in an unbroken chain. But In the past century, colonization and the arrival of outsiders interrupted many of these traditions. Specifically, Dixon's ancestors were prevented from building and sailing their canoes, and became isolated.  Today their life ways are unsustainable, unless they can re-establish sustainable transport. 

The Vaka Taumako Project was established by Paramount Chief Kaveia and Pacific Traditions Society in 1996 to help the community of Taumako to re-establish their ancient practices of sustainable living, including voyaging traditions. Taumakans recently constructed their largest long-distance voyaging canoe since the 1950s, and the only fully traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe in the world.  They also launched the Kula Hoholau o Lata (Lata Voyaging School). Using a system of knowledge held today by only a few remaining elders, the next generation has begun training in the traditional ways--growing and harvesting materials, building canoes, and voyaging as their ancestors had. 

For 20 years Dixon Wia of Taumako, SE Solomon Islands, has made video recordings of his people training a new generation in the voyaging practices of their ancestors. Dixon's goal is to tell the untold story of how Polynesian ancestral knowledge can help everyone in the world deal with the environmental issues we face today: climate change, overfishing, marine debris, food security, sustainable sea transport, and more. Dixon needs your help to learn video editing in apprenticeship with a team of professional film makers and editors, to preserve the ancient ways, and tell the story of his ancestors.

In June 2017 the Captain and crew of Vaka Taumako Project sailed this Tepuke traditional voyaging canoe from Taumako to Santa Cruz Island in the Solomon Islands, and is planning to sail to Vanuatu in November 2017.
In June 2017 the Captain and crew of Vaka Taumako Project sailed this Tepuke traditional voyaging canoe from Taumako to Santa Cruz Island in the Solomon Islands, and is planning to sail to Vanuatu in November 2017.

In June of 2017 the crew of Vaka Taumako Project successfully voyaged to Santa Cruz Island in their traditional tepuke canoe. In November 2017 they will voyage even further to visit long lost family members in the island nation of Vanuatu. 

As Taumakans revive their own sustainable sea-transport, they perpetuate healthy self-sufficiency and practical communications with people from other places. Networks of island peoples can revive sustainable bio-cultural practices, throughout the Pacific region.  Their example will inspire many other cultures to do the same.

Dixon Wia learning video editing from filmmaker Wade Fairley.
Dixon Wia learning video editing from filmmaker Wade Fairley.

Dixon's videography and script-writing has contributed substantially to a documentary film, "We, the Voyagers", that tells the story of Lata and the perpetuation of ancient and effective traditions of sustainable living and voyaging in the remote island community of Taumako. 

Under the mentorship of multi-award-winning lead cameraman and producer Wade Fairley, and cultural anthropologist Marianne "Mimi" George, PhD., Dixon has steadily gained in skills and experience on the "We the Voyagers" film project, and is ready to take his professional development to the next level with formal filmmaking coursework and training, starting in January 2018.

Dixon Wia, aspiring filmmaker.
Dixon Wia, aspiring filmmaker.

Your donations to this campaign will go directly to costs of formal video production classes, mentorship, and support he needs to participate in the completion the "We, the Voyagers" documentary. With formal education and training, Dixon will be empowered to tell the story of his people, and benefit generations of young people, both from Taumako, and beyond, who seek to connect with the ancient ancestral knowledge of voyaging, navigation using wind, waves, and stars, and sustainable living.

As part of this project, Dixon must travel to Hawaii to receive the formal training at the University of Hawaii in video production, and to meet with the film professionals mentors who have offered to train him in video production and editing. 

Dixon's translation notes of interviews for "We, the Voyagers"
Dixon's translation notes of interviews for "We, the Voyagers"

Your contribution will enable him to receive this training, and then equip him with the solar power system - solar panel, deep cycle, battery , inverter, etc. - that will enable him to film, edit, produce video projects, and mentor other aspiring filmmakers in Taumako in the Solomon Islands. Please donate today to help Dixon Wia get the documentary film training and equipment he needs to share the wisdom of his ancestors-- for the benefit of us all and the planet.

With the support of a generous donor who has pledged a matching grant, every dollar we raise in this campaign will be doubled to help us meet the overall goal of $38,000. Thank you for your contribution!

Vaka Taumako Project logo as printed on stickers, hats, and t-shirts as pledge rewards. Please donate today!
Vaka Taumako Project logo as printed on stickers, hats, and t-shirts as pledge rewards. Please donate today!

 

Risks and challenges

There are many challenges with working in the Solomon Islands. Basic amenities like electricity and water are not available in many locations. Slow Internet connectivity is available only in the main towns. This makes working on video editing in Taumako impossible at this time.

This is why Dixon must travel to Hawaii to receive the formal training at the University of Hawaii in video production, and to meet with the film professionals mentors who have offered to train him in video production and editing.

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    Vaka Taumako Project logo sticker

    Vaka Taumako Project logo sticker.

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    Vaka Taumako Project logo hat

    Bright neon green baseball hat with blue Vaka Taumkao Project logo, as worn by the crew on the vaka.

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    Solomon Islands shell money necklace

    Traditional handmade Solomon Islands shell money necklace.

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    Vaka Taumako Project crew t-shirt & hat

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    Gift Pack from the Vaka Taumako Project

    Two Vaka Taumako Project logo stickers, two t-shirts, 2 hats, and two handmade Solomon Islands traditional shell money necklaces.

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    Vaka Taumako Project Model Canoe

    Brilliantly detailed model of Te Puke Voyaging Canoe made from the same natural materials as the real voyaging canoes are made from. 1 meter long. Hand crafted by voyagers.

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Funding period

- (60 days)