Topic: Waka Ama

Waka leave for Rarotongan celebrations

By Heeni Brown
  • Auckland

Four waka prepare to leave on a 10 to 16 day journey from New Zealand to Rarotonga using only Polynesian traditional methods of navigation where they are guided solely by the conditions of the pacific ocean and the sky above.

Cook Island waka Marumaru Atua are heading the fleet on a 2000 mile voyage with New Zealand waka Haunui, Te Matau a Māui and Gaualofa following in pursuit of the Cook Island’s year-long celebrations, marking the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence and self-governance.

Celebrations include Te Manava Vaka Festival - the essence and origin of culture and voyaging which will begin upon the arrival of the Marumaru Atua fleet into Rarotonga.

Marumaru Atua navigator Tua Pittman says the festival will help connect the youth of Rarotonga to traditional navigation.

“Our job is to pass it on to our own people, we've gone from no navigators to about 12 master navigators in Polynesia and from those 12 we've probably taught another 25 to 30 students. Now navigation is a strong part of voyaging."

The four waka-fleet leaves Ōkahu Bay this morning at 9am and are due to be in Rarotonga by the beginning of June.

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