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Rātā : International waka experts in Whangārei

Rātā : International waka experts in Whangārei

We are honoured to stand alongside the Patron of Rātā, Stanley Conrad, to host Hawai’i, Tahiti and Aotearoa waka navigators and carvers who will share their traditional and contemporary art form and expertise in our region,” says Ngaire Wilson, General Manager of Te Au Mārie.

Whangārei and Te Taitokerau (Northland) welcomes the Pacific delegation of waka experts for the Rātā symposium as part of Tuia ki Taitokerau. The Rātā symposium starts on 14 October 2019 at Hihiaua Cultural Centre, Whangārei.

Tahitian master carver Marirai Freddie Tauotaha will complete a canoe started by his father, Puaniho Tauotaha 27 years ago. The waka has been in storage at the home of the late Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi, a close friend of Puaniho and is currently housed at the Hihiaua Cultural Centre.

Hawai’ian Na Kalai Wa’a o Laka is led by the Bumatay family with strong ancestral links to the canoe carvers of the past. Ray Bumatay Master Kalai Wa’a long time trainer and son Alika who leads the team will carve an outrigger canoe utilising the skills handed down to them by their ancestors.

Aotearoa team collaboration - Te Muka Tāngata between the Hihiaua Cultural Centre and Te Kāpehu Whetū involves rangatahi in tārai waka (canoe carving). The rangatahi will learn skills and knowledge about waka restoration, lashing and preservation. The team exemplifies the whakatauki “Tuia te muka tāngata” – weaving people together for a shared future.

Derek Kawiti, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University is leading a team using 3D printing technologies working with a 2018 scan of 230 Hawai`ian wa’a (outrigger canoe) gifted to the Smithsonian in 1888 by Queen Kapi’olani of the Kingdom of Hawai’i.
“Rātā will be highlighting the waka carving and building practices of the Pacific. The Rātā symposium includes practitioners from Hawaii, Tahiti and Aotearoa demonstrating their work as they transform trees to functional waka. Rātā will bring greater visibility to the traditional and contemporary mātauranga of this art form,” says James Eruera, Tumu Tārai Waka and Co-chair Te Au Mārie.


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