In the entire history of our planet, there is only one culture that defies the logic of their expansion and development. That is the culture of Polynesia, and it defies logic for one very simple reason. At a time when man was supposed to possess only the crudest of vessels with which to ply the world’s oceans, the Polynesians populated and established vital trade in an area equal to one fifth of the earth’s surface and they did it without a compass or charts and by sailing against the wind.
Until the mid nineteenth century, European vessels were limited to being pushed around by the winds. The sailing technology and technique relied on the wind’s natural direction to drive the lumbering boats from place to place. The Polynesians, on the other hand had developed an incredibly simple and efficient method of using the resources at hand and harnessing the wind to sail their boats with speed and accuracy over the entire Pacific.
The technology the Polynesians developed is epitomized by an efficient sailing craft called the Proa. Far from being just another sailboat, the Proa instills the very essence of a culture reliant on the sea. The Proa leans the sail into the wind and uses that wind to lift the craft, making it move quickly and efficiently. Every part of the Proa has special significance; the very act of sailing a Proa is a part of the Polynesian heritage. In short, the Proa is a physical representation of the Polynesian culture.
In 1999, the Kingdom of Tonga built a very special Proa. The inspiration was the change of the millennium and the Proa is called the Millennium Kalia. The Millenium Kalia is the King’s Proa, a 109 foot long, beautifully built example of the ancient art of the Proa. The Kalia was sailed for the first time at the millennium celebration and represents an important part of the history and integrity of the Polynesian culture.
The Kingdom of Tonga gifted this one of a kind Proa to the Kalia Foundation with the mandate to preserve the ancient art of the Proa and inspire a new generation of seafarers. With the Millennium Kalia as the centerpiece of it’s organization, the Kalia Foundation will strive to preserve and expand the art and technology of the Proa. By taking modern high technologies and combining the ancient craft and art of the Proa, the Kalia Foundation can show the world and the Polynesians that the Proa is the sailing craft not just of history but of the future.