Māori students travel to Rarotonga to retrace the footsteps of their ancestors

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

A group of 50 students from Tauranga Moana are on a journey of discovery in the Cook Islands.

Ngāti Ranginui have deep connections with Takitimu waka, which historically left Rarotonga during the great pacific migration to Aotearoa.

Pirini Ngātote Edwards says, “We are retracing the footsteps of our ancestor from Takitimu. We are all aware there are two main canoes in Tauranga, that’s Takitimu and Mataatua.”

Many of the students were stunned at the similarities of the cultures.

Waiariki Te Kaawa says, “The water, the views and just know that we come from here, I’m just overwhelmed.”

Winirangi Nicholas says, “I’m just astounded at how similar our cultures are. In the beginning I thought we were very different.”

It was like they had never left home.

The students of Te Kura Kokiri arrived in Rarotonga last week and Takitimu ki Tauranga Moana have arrived in force to take part in the 50th year of the Cook Island constitution which kicks off next week.

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