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Rātā : International waka experts in Whangārei

Traditional and contemporary art forms are on show at the Rātā Symposium
in Whāngarei where navigators and carvers from across the Pacific have gathered
to share their expertise.

Hosted by the Te Au Mārie Trust, the event is part of Tuia 250 ki Taitokerau with
a key aim to bring greater visibility to the depth of knowledge of this artform.

Tahitian master carver Marirai Freddie Tauotaha is here to complete a canoe started
by his father, Puaniho Tauotaha 27 years ago. The waka has been in storage
at the home of the late Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi, a close friend of Puaniho and
is currently housed at the Hihiaua Cultural Centre.

Alika Bumatay leads the Hawai’ian Na Kalai Wa’a o Laka. His team will carve an
outrigger canoe utilising the knowledge handed down to them by their ancestors.

Derek Kawiti, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University is leading a team using 3D
printing technologies working with a scan of the 230-year-old Hawai`ian wa’a
(outrigger canoe) gifted to the Smithsonian in 1888 by Queen Kapi’olani of the
Kingdom of Hawai’i.

And representing the future of this artform are the students from Te Kāpehu Whetū
In Whāngarei who are learning about waka restoration, in the
lashing and preservation of the Ngāti Whātua war canoe Te Wairoa.

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