Waka Wānanga – Ta Ara a Hopo (pathways of the albatross)
In the first week of March two traditional waka hourua will sail to Rēkohu (Chatham Islands) from Wellington to support a gathering on the island convened by Hokotehi Moriori Trust. The purpose of the gathering is to promote connections between voyaging cultures in the Pacific and teach our young ones about way finding and ocean navigation. On board each waka will be Moriori crew – a first time experience for all of them.
We are also using the voyage to raise awareness about problems caused by ocean plastics, and their impact on seabirds and marine life. The crew on Te Matau a Māui will carry out ocean transect surveys for microplastics on her way to the Chathams. The connection between the plastics research and the waka is a strong example of kaitiakitanga in action and we plan to continue research on plastics especially with regard to their impact on endangered Chatham Islands albatross.
Hokotehi Moriori Trust propose to make the waka wānanga an annual event on the island with the aim of forming our own voyaging trust and building a waka for the Chathams.