Hawaiian marae under discussion

By Raniera Harrison

The concept of establishing a marae in Hawai'i for an iwi, who consider themselves the sixth tribe of Northland, is gaining traction.  

This follows a proposal by the Hōkūle'a crew members at Waitangi while investigating connections throughout the Pacific.

It has been 33 years since the arrival of Hōkūle'a under traditional navigational customs.

With a new iwi, the discussion is continuing on the establishment of a marae.

Hekenukumai Busby says, "The Hawaiian people requested where their land was to erect a marae here for them".

Since the initial arrival of Hōkūle'a to NZ in 1985, the late Sir James Henare announced a new tribal grouping, Ngāti Ruawāhia for those aboard Hōkūle'a.

Hence, the continual return to NZ to fulfil those wishes.

Nainoa Thompson (Ngāti Ruawāhia) says, "We didn't know what to do with that statement, we didn't know if it was a symbolic kind of nice gesture by a tupuna and so we had to wait and see what the reaction would be from the Māori people".

Those at the gathering reminisced about the initial journey aboard Hōkūle'a 33 years ago.

Busby says, "They're all passed on.  I am the only one left.  So I feel sorry for myself".

The experienced Hawaiian navigator says the task ahead is to not let the sea separate both parties, but let it connect them.

Thompson says, "We have become more comfortable with the notion of taking responsibility for Ngāti Ruawāhia because of the relationship building.  Tonight is another step in that direction".

It is yet to be decided when Ngāti Ruawāhia will return.