Reviving Traditional Navigation Knowledge in the Pacific

Tāwera, Te Aramahiti, The morning star guides eastward: reviving traditional navigation knowledge in the Pacific, a paper that captures the important role of Indigenous and local knowledge in ocean science, was officially launched at the UN Ocean Decade Conference, held in Barcelona, in April 2024.


Illustration by James Edwards

Tāwera, Te Aramahiti

Drawing on the knowledge of Master Navigator Jack Thatcher, and collated and written by Jeff Evans, the beautifully illustrated paper highlights the contribution of indigenous knowledges to ocean science, focusing on navigation from a Māori knowledge perspective.

The paper prioritises and centres the voices and vast knowledge of those who know and understand voyaging waka best - the navigators.

Lidia Brito, Assistant Director General for the Natural Sciences, UNESCO describes the paper as “an exceptional piece of work which brings to our attention the great reawakening in the Pacific of ocean knowledge, wayfinding, star charts and the heritage of long-distance navigation without instruments”.

The paper was commissioned by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, in conjunction with the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) section within the Natural Sciences Sector.