May 15, 2019
Star-filled farewell for Pacific voyager
Sir Hekenukumai Busby was a star in the Māori firmament, and now the driver of the revival of ocean-going waka traditions has a star in the heavens named after him.
Among the tributes paid at today's funeral for the Te Rarawa leader in Pukepoto was one from Hawaiian navigator Nainoa Thompson, who first came to the Busby base at Aurere in 1983 while preparing for the Hawaiian canoe Hokule'a's voyage across the Pacific.
Sir Hekenukumai became a partner in the Hawaiian cultural revival, helping them establish kōhanga reo and marae as well as build waka and train navigators.
Mr Thompson says to mark his contribution to the Pacific voyaging revival he was giving the name Hekenukumai to the bright star at the tip of the hook in the 16-star constellation known as Maui's Hook.
That star lies at the centre of the Milky Way.
Mr Thompson says there is much left to do, but Sir Hekenukumai left some powerful tools, including the best star compass in the world on a grassy knoll at Aurere.
He says when the navigators and sailors he trained see the lightning under the ocean and read the waves, he will be with them forever.
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