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Tairawhiti Joins Voyage To National Waka Hourua Festival In Tauranga

Tairawhiti waka is joining Hinemoana waka on the voyage to the Inaugural National Waka Hourua Festival Te Hau Kōmaru hosted in Tauranga later this month.

Tairawhiti Voyaging Trust chair Herewini Te Koha says voyaging together is a significant part of waka tradition both here in Aotearoa and across Moana Nui a Kiwa.

“Our crew have been preparing for this voyage which extends their knowledge as kau moana sailors and connects them to the wider waka whānau.

Leading Te Hau Kōmaru is Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. He says the festival and voyage is one of education - engaging the public with what we do, and sparking interest in waka hourua.

“We will be meeting our other waka hourua Haunui and Ngahiraka at Mōtītī Island to support an environmental conservation program before sailing into Tauranga Moana.

“It’s important for communities to see the waka sailing so they can understand the legacy and brilliance of our ancestors in the realms of sailing, astronomy, hauora, and science.”

Te Hau Kōmaru festival is at the Tauranga Bridge Marina and offers people the chance to visit a waka hourua, learn about celestial navigation, the basics of sailing, and hear first hand what it’s like to be a voyager. These waka hourua experiences are open to the public from 19-22 May.

You can find more information as well as register interest for school groups at


The Tauranga City Library will be offering a specially curated waka exhibit of books as well as hosting the release and book signing on May 22 of Jeff Evan’s new book Reawakening: Traditional Navigators of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa.

Festival goers can enjoy the debut of Kokorangi, a new single by IA, a trio of Māori musicians creating indigenous soul music using traditional instruments. IA will also be showing their new music video filmed aboard Hinemoana Waka.

The TUIA Mātauranga roadshow will be open to the public. A mobile wānanga space, the Mātauranga truck was created for the TUIA 250 voyage and offers visitors of all ages a journey of learning and storytelling that includes an activity book, mobile app-supported activities, and a virtual reality waka sailing experience.

Te Hau Kōmaru started in Kawhia with Hinemoana waka, under the direction of Te Toki Voyaging Trust, sailing to Waitohi-Picton to support the Long Distance Waka Ama Nationals and organisers Ngā Kaihoe o Aotearoa and Te Waka o Aoraki.

Hinemoana then sailed to Mohua Golden Bay and onto Porirua where they were hosted by Ngāti Toa Rangatira at Hongoeka Marae.

Hinemoana and her crew sailed on May 5 to Ahuriri-Napier and arrived on May 7.

Hinemoana is scheduled to depart for Turanganui a Kiwa-Gisborne on May 12, where she will be joined by Tairawhiti Waka to sail to Mōtītī Island where they will be met by Haunui Waka (from Tamaki Makaurau-Auckland) and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti Waka (from Tauranga).

The fleet will then sail to Tauranga Moana, where they will be welcomed by the Waka Taua Tākitimu and local waka tangata.

The festival will be held at the Tauranga Bridge Marina, 101 Te Awanui Drive, Harbour Bridge Marina.

Te Hau Kōmaru has an interim board of Waka Hourua experts charged with forming a national waka hourua strategy, establishing a national entity, and organising supporting events.

Te Hau Kōmaru was formed in response to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s commitment to support the continued development of waka kaupapa and voyaging throughout Aotearoa.

Full details including can be found on

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