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Annual Traditional Waka Pageant at Waitangi 2010

1 Toi Maori Media Release

Tuesday 26 January 2010

For Immediate Release

Annual Traditional Waka Pageant at Waitangi 2010

The brisk waters of the Bay of Islands (Te Pewhairangi) will once again be hosting ceremonial waka from around the motu. Nga Waka Federation members of Toi Maori which include Robert Gabel (Chair) Joe Conrad, Heke-nuku-mainga- iwi Puhipi (Hector Busby) and Tepene Mamaku have been busy with preparing the participants for this auspicious event.

There will be an armada of ceremonial waka including waka taua, waka tete kura and waka Hourua (voyaging waka) taking part in this year’s commemorations. This will be the most waka assembled at Waitangi since the 1990 Waitangi Day Commemorations.

Of significant interest is the 70th anniversary of the massive waka taua Nga Toki Matawhaorua of Pewhairangi which has been refurbished by Master Waka Builder and Navigator Heke-nuku-mai-nga-iwi Puhipi (Hector Busby). It will be proudly featured in this year’s waka pageant.

Of huge interest and significance is the return of Nga Toki Matawhaorua of Otaua. This too was refurbished by Hector Busby. Its last visit to Waitangi was 70 years ago.

Two other waka taua also celebrate their 20th anniversaries and participation since 1990, Mataatua Puhi; Hectors first ever waka that he built and refurbished last year and Te Toi o Mataatua from Whakatane. They recently held a Mataatua waka celebration in Whakatane on the 1st January 2010 acknowledging this and its descendants from Mataatua waka.

Nga Waka Federation is also playing host to native American Bobby Mercier, Language Cultural Specialist and Skipper of the Grand Ronde Canoe Family of Oregon who hosted members of Nga Waka Federation in July last year. 2 This was during the Tribal Canoe Journeys paddle to Seattle 2009 which involved 60 Native American tribes and first nations’ people from Canada who amassed over 100 canoes and landed at the Suquamish Reservation in Seattle during the 3 week paddling journey in the Puget Sounds.

Bennie Armstrong, a representative from Suquamish Nation who has been involved with hosting Toi Maori through the Eternal Threads exhibition to the USA in 2006 and also paddled on Te Toi o Mataatua waka at Waitangi Day in 2007 will also be attendance.

Wananga have been held in the Bay of Islands, Whakatane and Auckland over the last two weekends with over three hundred kaihoe (paddlers) fine tuning their paddling skills, learning waiata, karakia and haka appropriate to waka.

The Waitangi Day pageant will showcase these skills and knowledge commencing at 9am on Saturday 6 February 2010 with karakia in front of Te Tii Marae followed by displays of salutes, turning and paddling skills interspersed with Haka. Toi Maori Aotearoa is the national organisation for Maori art and artists and receives major funding from Te Waka Toi, the Maori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand.

ENDS

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