Te Matau-a-Māui voyagers return home. Image/Te Ikaroa-Defending our Waters.
Uri of Te Ikaroa aboard Te Matau-a-Māui have returned safely to the shores of Ahuriri this morning after spending three days in the tribals waters of Ngāti Kahungunu confronting the Amazon Warrior, the worlds largest seismic testing vessel.
Eighty hapū and iwi along Te Tairāwhiti endorsed a message to surveyors Statoil and Chevron, demanding they leave Ikaroa-Rāwhiti waters immediately.
Te Matau-a-Māui received a warm welcome from friends and whānau who braved the wet weather early this morning.
In a Live Facebook post, Te Matau-a-Māui delegation member Tina Ngata said, "We're wet and cold and appreciative to have a warm welcome here from our friends and whānau who have come from quite far in some cases to wrap their arms around us and welcome us home."
Pounamu Tipiwai Chambers, a voyager aboard the waka spoke of the the moment they intercepted the vessel known as "The Beast".
"It was quite an emotional experience but when we saw The Beast it was pretty sad...pretty scary that it was right there doing what it was doing."
Ngata vividly remembers hearing the vessel as it drilled into the ocean floor. "You could hear it, you could hear the cracks. It sounded like somebody letting off dynamite...It was a full on experience," she recalls.
Despite what was described as an overwhelming experience for those aboard the waka hourua, they're more than satisfied with what they achieved.
"We were proud to do that for our people and for our future generations," Ngata adds.
Native Affairs reporter Wepiha Te Kanawa was also aboard Te Matau-a-Māui. He said he's proud of the way the crew approached the Amazon Warrior.
“Te Matau-a-Māui may not be able to stop them but what they are doing is embodying the word 'kaitiakitanga'. That's of utmost importance to them.”
Te Kanawa pointed out the voyage wasn't an easy one. “I was a bit nervous about this work. The sea is battering our ship, and the wind is strong on the sails of Te Matau-a-Māui.”
For more updates on this kaupapa, you can visit the crew's Facebook page, Te Ikaroa- Defending Our Waters.