While Te Matatini 2015 is only days away from beginning, the double-hulled waka Te Matau a Māui is preparing for Te Matatini in another way. It has sailed to Christchurch to pick up the mauri and bring it back to Kahungunu for the first time in more than 30 years.
All hands are on deck as the crew make its final preparations before it heads on a journey that is a Te Matatini first.
Tawhana Chadwick says, "Back in the old days, that was how a mauri [stone] was transported via a double-hulled waka, perhaps to keep it authentic."
The handing over of the mauri stone is a new tradition that was introduced at the 2009 Te Matatini in Tauranga Moana and has been carried on ever since.
"I believe it weighs 26kg. There are a lot of places for the mauri to be placed but we have selected a specific place for it on the waka," says Chadwick.
At the conclusion of Te Matatini they will uplift the mauri and take it to Wellington on the waka where it will be watched 24 hours a day.
Anikaaro Harawira says, "We'll head back to Wellington and then sail around to all the regions within Ngāti Kahungunu. "
Last year in October, the waka underwent a total refurbishment putting it in good stead to make the 350 nautical mile, five-day trip to Christchurch.