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Te Hau Kōmaru National Waka Hourua Board States No Association To Protest At Te Papa

Following the act of protest on the Treaty exhibit at Te Papa Tongarewa, Te Hau Kōmaru National Waka Hourua Charitable Trust, has clarified it and none of its associated waka hourua trusts are connected to the group called ‘Te Waka Hourua’.

“Te Hau Kōmaru and the established waka hourua trust and organisations who actively work in their communities in environmental and educational programmes across Aotearoa are in no way connected to the group Te Waka Hourua, and the use of waka imagery by this rōpū is inappropriate,” says Co-chair of Te Hau Kōmaru Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr.

Te Hau Kōmaru have reached out to the group and asked for them to consider a name change.

Formed in 2021, Te Hau Kōmaru was established to support kaupapa waka hourua throughout Aotearoa. Te Hau Kōmaru Board is a collective of kaupapa waka experts voted in as representatives of the different rohe to guide, advise and inform on mātauranga waka with a focus on protection of kaupapa and kōrero waka, while sharing and keeping mātauranga waka alive.

“While we do not wish to comment on the specific act of protest, Te Hau Kōmaru has a well established relationship with Te Papa Tongarewa and we feel it is important to speak out as the waka hourua exhibition that our community has been involved in sits close to where this protest took place,’’ says Barclay-Kerr.

“We take our role as kaitiaki and kaihautū of kaupapa waka hourua very seriously whether that be in promoting its revitalisation or speaking out on inappropriate use of the mātauranga that comes with it.”

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“We agree with the whakaaro that the English version of Te Tiriti does not accurately represent the Māori version, however we encourage this rōpū to reconsider a more appropriate name. They are not waka hourua practitioners and criminal acts associated with that name could have a negative impact on the future of an important kaupapa Māori,” says Barclay-Kerr.

Te Hau Kōmaru emerged following the TUIA 250 Commemorations of 2019 to support kaupapa waka hourua. The goal was to establish and support a national body, develop a strategy and support voyaging events and activities. In December 2020, key waka hourua experts met to discuss the development of a national body and strategy and the following outcomes were identified:

  • That the public awareness of kaupapa waka hourua is further enhanced
  • That a national waka hourua body is established
  • That a national waka hourua strategy is progressed
  • That mātauranga waka hourua is acknowledged and shared

The strategy identifies areas in which Te Hau Kōmaru will not only enhance the awareness of kaupapa waka hourua but how it will protect it, especially in the lead up to the bi-annual Te Hau Kōmaru National Waka Hourua Festival taking place in Kaiteretere in April 2024.

More information on Te Hau Kōmaru, kaupapa waka hourua and the progress of the group’s National Strategy can be found at

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