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Second National Waka Hourua Festival: Te Hau Kōmaru Sets Sail For Kāwhia Moana

From October 15th - 23rd, Te Hau Kōmaru in partnership with Te Toki Voyaging Trust is set to host over 2,000 participants from across Aotearoa at Maketu Marae, in Kāwhia Moana for the second annual National Waka Hourua Festival.

Co-chair of the Te Hau Kōmaru National Waka Hourua Board, Hoturoa Kerr, says that this festival is a great celebration of the achievements of our tūpuna so long ago. The waka is a symbol of mana, and it allows us to retrace the footsteps of our tūpuna and rekindle the mātauranga left behind by those who have passed on.

“What we hope to see from this festival is rangatahi who are engaged with the waka, reminded of their tūpuna, and overall having a great time learning about the history of our people.”

Te Toki Voyaging Trust, along with Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust, Tairāwhiti Waka Hourua and Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust, will host up to 30 schools, while teaching 1,500 students about navigation, sailing, astronomy, waka building and more across the seven day experience. From the 22nd to the 23rd there will be days for the public to experience the mātauranga of traditional navigation taught by the kaumoana (sailors).

Marking 30 years since the launch of Te Aurere, the first waka hourua in Aotearoa of this time, Kerr says there is no better time to celebrate this kaupapa than now as we recognise an auspicious day for kaupapa waka.

Te Hau Kōmaru inaugural festival, which took place in Tauranga Harbour in May last year, saw 3,000 participants make their way through the festival itself all leaving with a new and invigorated mindset towards the idea of waka hourua.

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“Our main goal as the board is to establish an entity where all waka hourua trusts can find support and stability, while simultaneously uplifting the kaupapa and sharing the message across the motu, bringing awareness to waka hourua and reminding people that this is an important part of the history of Aotearoa,” says Barclay-Kerr.

Four large scale waka hourua are now in preparation for departure from their home ports, making heed towards Kāwhia to celebrate this event with the community.


Te Hau Kōmaru emerged following the TUIA 250 Commemorations of 2019. With Government approved funding in January 2020, they established a National Waka Hourua entity, Te Hau Kōmaru, to support kaupapa waka, establish and support a national body, develop a strategy and investment case, and fund voyaging events and activities.

In December 2020, a number of 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 waka hourua kaupapa 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

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