May 19, 2013
Storm-tossed waka home at last
One of the major sea voyages of our time ended on Saturday when two double-hulled waka slipped into the river at Doubtless Bay to be greeted by more than 1000 family and supporters.
Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti had travelled to Rapanui-Easter Island and back, weathering storms, giant swells and often freezing conditions.
They used only the stars, moon and sun, as well as the birds and animals of the ocean to guide them.
Waka Tapu organiser Karl Johnstone, the director of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, says the voyage is a legacy for the future.
It closed the Polynesian triangle, a mission which started more than 20 years ago with Te Aurere’s first voyage to Rarotonga under the leadership of waka builder Hekenukumai Busby.
The institute has set up a wānanga on Mr Busby’s land at Aurere to teach waka building and culture and traditional Polynesian navigation.
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