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Tauranga Set For First National Waka Hourua Festival

Waka hourua communities are heading to Tauranga this week to celebrate Te Hau Kōmaru - the first national festival of its kind.

On Wednesday a flotilla of waka hourua will arrive at Tauranga Bridge Marina, escorted in by the waka taua Takitimu and waka tete.

Tauranga kaumatua will also be on a launch to greet the voyagers on the water.

Whareroa Marae will then host a powhiri to welcome the voyagers, some of whom have sailed from Kāwhia to Waitohi - Picton, Porirua, Ahuriri - Napier, Turanganui-a-Kiwa - Gisborne and then finally Tauranga, with one waka hourua sailing from Tamaki-Makaurau - Auckland.

Navigator Jack Thatcher, who is leading the Tauranga event for Te Hau Kōmaru, says iwi and hapu of the area are excited to host this event that celebrates the voyaging legacy of our ancestors.

Navigator Jack Thatcher says iwi and hapū are excited to host the first national waka hourua festival

“Te Hau Kōmaru means the wind in the sails, and we hope Tauranga will be able to add its energy to keep this kaupapa thriving.

“We already have more than 30 schools booked in to visit Te Terenga Waka Workshops, and we are expecting to see more than 1000 students over the first two days of the festival.

“It’s going to be a mighty visit for them with waka hourua tours, star dome experience, sailing small waka, learning the star compass, maramataka and sailing knots. The Tuia Matauranga truck will also be there with all its high-tech stories of the true history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We have an event for sailing crew to compose a new waiata, and one for the captains to build whakawhanaungatanga. We also have Te Whiringa, a night of celebration, featuring Professor Rangi Mātāmua, the launch of author Jeff Evan’s Reawaken: Traditional Navigators of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa and a poetry book by one of our own sailors.

On Saturday, Te Hau Kōmaru will host a full public open day with IA Maori Music debuting a live performance of their new single, Kōkōrangi. Jeff Evans will be signing his books, and there will all the waka learning experiences for all the family. 

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