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Waka Celebrations for Waitangi

28 January 2013

Waka Celebrations for Waitangi

The brisk waters of the Bay of Islands (Te Pewhairangi) will once again be hosting ceremonial waka of all designs from around the country, along with international guests; Suquamish representatives from Seattle, Dutch Representatives from Leiden, Holland and the Ainu tangata whenua from Japan. All are part of a canoe culture.

Nga Waka Federation has been involved with cultural waka art form exchanges with the Native Americans over the last 3 years at their Tribal Canoe Journeys. This will hopefully continue well into the future as waka have a very positve effect on both cultures; physically, mentally and spiritually.

The Dutch from the Njord Royal Rowing Club in Leiden are also participating at this year's event. They along with the Museum Volkenkunde are the kaitiaki for the international waka taua Te Hono ki Aotearoa which participated at the Queens Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in June 2012 amongst 1000 other floatilla paddling on the River Thames.

The Dutch were also given the opportunity to paddle and demonstrate capabilities of their waka tētēkura called Tāhīmana (Abel Tasman) at the Frankfurt Festival held in Germany in August 2012 where New Zealand was the feature country.

Robert Gabel, Chair of Nga Waka Federation and main organizer for the Waitangi Waka Pageant says:

“Maintaining our relationships on a national and international scale is one of our strategies to push kaupapa waka above and beyond these shores. Having our international manuhiri stay with us at Tent City and experiencing our tikanga is something that they treasure for the rest of their lives.”

Joe Conrad, Nga Waka Federation member and Kaihautu (Captain) of Nga Toki Matawhaorua says:

“Dutch, Native Americans and the Ainu will be training on the largest waka we have which is Nga Toki Matawhaorua which can hold 80 paddlers. Other waka from Te Taitokerau will be participating and our tamawahine (women) can also participate on the waka tētēkura that will be made available to them.”

Waka leader Taituha Mamaku and crew from Mataatua rohe will be taking Hinemoana waka tētēkura to Waitangi along with other waka and crew from Te Arawa led by Pererika Mākiha.

Preparations usually begin one week out from the main day and this year Tent city will be established at the sports field on Haruru Falls Road. The Waitangi River will be used as the main training area for paddling waka and some waka will be stationed near the falls itself.

They will be part of an elaborate Waka celebration and demonstration of skill and technique in maneuvering two to three ton waka on the shores of Te Pēwhairangi, in front of Te Tii Marae, Waitangi on 6th February 2013.

About Toi Māori Aotearoa:
Toi Māori Aotearoa is a Charitable Trust set up by Māori Artists and is a national organisation for Māori art forms and its artists. It receives major funding from Te Waka Toi, the Māori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand.

Nga Waka Federation (NWF) Contacts and Organisers for Waitangi Waka pageant 2013


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