Bringing Moana to the Samoan Islands

Gaualofa will set sail from central Apia and travel around both the Upolu and Savai’i islands. Along the voyage, Gaualofa will stop in at least seven key historical districts to engage with the local community members from that district. The crew will follow traditional protocols and will participate in traditional welcoming ava ceremony at every stop. This is an opportunity for the Samoa Voyaging Society’s (SVS) crew to carry out demonstrations on traditional voyaging techniques and share their knowledge, passion and experiences with the local communities.

Gaualofa, Samoa’s traditional double hulled voyaging canoe, meaning “to do and act with love” embodies Samoa’s unique relationship with the ocean. Under this project, Conservation International (CI) will work in partnership with SVS, the Samoan Government, the National University of Samoa, and other partners, and will sail Gaualofa around Samoa visiting communities. The project will bring Moana to the people of Samoa, as well as extend natural resource management guidance to target communities. In true Pacific form, the collaborative project will also exchange with and learn from communities to better understand their challenges and identify barriers to effective coastal resource management.

Through its journeys, SVS embodies a customary connection to the ocean, which has sustained Pacific Island peoples for generations. Disney’s Moana celebrates traditional voyaging culture. As a heroine of the Pacific, Moana has built community pride in Samoa and rekindled the sense of connection to the sea and coast. Using traditional storytelling platforms paired with a screening of Disney’s Moana and CI’s conservation expertise, we believe we can increase environmental awareness among island communities while upholding unique cultural traditions and knowledge. Conservation International will partner with SVS and other voyaging societies to reach communities with coastal adaptation and management guidance.

Sailing aboard Gaualofa, the coalition of partners will bring the story of Moana to Samoa’s rural coastal communities, along with environmental awareness on sustainable ocean stewardship and exchanges on their natural resource management actions. As a part of the project, CI and the Samoan Government’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) will provide training to the SVS Captain and crewmembers to build their capacity in natural resource management and undertake this work.

Disney’s Moana portrays a powerful message of the Pacific, demonstrating cultural value and respect for the traditions of the Pacific people. Following the natural resource management exchanges, Moana will be screened in every target community in order to amplify this message to audiences of all ages, and promote improved awareness for the value of the ocean and marine life.

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