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Waka Tetekura takes its place in Te Raukura

Waka Tetekura takes its place in Te Raukura

The arrival today of the waka tetekura – TE HONONGA - is an important occasion for both Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and the wider Wellington community, Chairman of the Wharewaka o Poneke Charitable Trust, Professor Sir Ngatata Love said.

A waka tetekura is a general purpose waka which was once the primary mode of transport around Wellington Harbour.

“Having achieved our vision of a return to the waterfront with the building of Te Raukura, the wharewaka – we take immense pride in placing into the care of Te Raukura our new taonga – Te Hononga.

“This waterfront was once vibrant with our tupuna (ancestors). The area around the wharewaka was our home and from here we launched our waka – for many purposes. We have finally come home,” Professor Love said.

“I particularly want to acknowledge the Wellington Community Trust for without their grant this waka would not have been possible. We are truly grateful.”

Hekenukumai Busby – a world renowned expert in waka and traditional celestial navigation - has been responsible for building Te Hononga. His experience of more than 30 years building waka is unsurpassed.

Te Hononga was crafted from swamp kauri that is over 1,000 years old. It was built over several months in Mangonui, Northland. Sir Ngatata Love said he is now looking forward to the arrival of the waka taua (war canoe) currently under construction. The waka taua will be paid for and owned by the Wellington City Council. It is expected to arrive in early September.

With two waka on the southern shores of Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington Harbour) and two waka in the Hutt Valley, we are witnessing a resurgence of this activity which has not been seen on this harbour for many, many years.

The Nga Waka Federation said it was pleased to welcome a new member of the federation. Chairman Rob Gabel said the addition of the newest waka group was auspicious as he was currently in the Netherlands for the opening of the new whare waka to house two waka at the National Museum.

The Federation is the waka committee of Toi Maori Aotearoa, the Wellington based national collective of artists and cultural experts.

Sir Ngatata said that the trust has worked closely with the federation to ensure that their stringent guidelines are adhered to in the use of the new waka.

“These waka will not be museum pieces; they will be launched on a regular basis with trained crew from all sectors of Wellington’s community.”

Professor Love said the grant received from the Wellington Community Trust also provided for two waka ama (outrigger canoes) - Whio and Amokura – which are also here today.

ENDS

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