5 December, 2012
Waka Tapu reaches Rapanui
Associate Tourism Minister Chris Tremain has welcomed the arrival of Waka Tapu to Rapanui/Easter Island.
Two waka hourua (double–hulled sailing canoes) carrying 12 crew departed Auckland in August on a 10,000 nautical mile voyage to Rapanui and back.
“Today the waka reached Rapanui safely – using only the stars, moon, sun, ocean currents, birds and marine life to guide their way across 5,000 nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean,” says Mr Tremain.
“This is a fantastic accomplishment. Not only has this historic voyage allowed the crews to retrace the steps of their ancestors back to Eastern Polynesia, it helps retain and document indigenous navigational and environmental knowledge for future generations.”
The journey, which was led by the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute in partnership with Te Taitokerau Tārai Waka, has been 20 years in the making.
Hekenukumai (Hector) Busby built the principal waka, Te Aurere, in the early 1990s and the second waka, Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti, was completed by 2011.
The voyage to Rapanui took 16 weeks, including stop overs in Raivavae and Mangareva in French Polynesia.
The waka hourua are expected back in New Zealand in April 2013, following a layover in either French Polynesia or the Cook Islands to allow the cyclone season to pass.
For further information go to www.wakatapu.com