June 02, 2020
Highest honours within Māoridom for waka captain
The latest Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit says it’s a great acknowledgment of his mahi but his greatest honour has already come from Māoridom.
Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr was given the honour for his contributions to waka and Māori knowledge and also his role in co-chairing last year’s Tuia 250 commemorations marking both the arrival of James Cook’s Endeavour in 1769 and the thousand year Polynesian voyaging tradition before that.
But it was another flotilla that gave him his proudest moment, heading the waka from around the motu carrying the Māori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, down the Waikato River from Tūrangawaewae Marae to her final resting place atop Taupiri Maunga.
"She had been a very big influence letting me go and do all this waka stuff from when I was quite young. She always supported me in all my waka kaupapa and all my waka mau so to be able to repay her faith and trust in me was one of the greatest occasions and the greatest tasks that I did" he says.
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