May 14, 2019
Waka wānanga a living legacy
Sir Hekenukumai Busby is being mourned around the Pacific as communities reflect on his impact not just on the revival of ocean voyaging and celestial navigation but on the preservation of languages and cultures.
Family spokesperson Peter-Lucas Jones, the manager of Te Hiku Media, says a large group is expected at his tangi from Hawaii, where he had a 40 year relationship with other navigators and with the Kamehameha Schools for indigenous Hawaiians.
It reflected his interests in Aotearoa, where he was a life member of Te Matatini and the Māori Women’s Welfare League and a supporter of many other groups.
But he was most closely associated with the building and sailing of waka hourua, and his whare wānanga at Aurere on Doubtless Bay will become a living legacy not just for his but for all the kaumātua whose photographs hang in the whare.
"He always spoke about the impact that John Rangihau had on him as a young man. Also Sir James Henare, Whina Cooper, and all those kuia and kaumātua and he always referred back to them and their support for the revival of our language and culture and very much the waka," Mr Jones says.
Sir Hekenukumai Busby was a great supporter of Radio Te Hiku o Te Ika, contributing a weekly kōrero, and the station is teaming up with Māori Television to stream parts of the tangi and funeral service today and tomorrow.
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