391 nautical miles to Rabaul
Samarai is an island off the south-eastern tip of New Guinea. In the 19th century it came under British rule, including under the authority of so-called “Commonwealth of Australia”. New Guinea was inhabited by its Indigenous population for at least 60 thousand years before colonisation. Currently it is artificially divided into Papua New Guinea and West Papua (under Indonesian occupation). “Sorong Samarai, one people, one soul, one destiny” is a chorus in a song by Papua New Guinean-Australian Airileke Ingram and it originates from Benny Wenda’s now famous address to the United Nations 20 years ago. On the 11th of November 2018, the Wai Ron – a double hulled canoe that began its journey on the Island of Biak in West Papua arrived on Samarai. The canoe and its journey is a celebration of the many cultures of Papua New Guinea and West Papua and of the unity between them.