Waka Tapu leaves on historic voyage

  • Chris Tremain

Associate Minister of Tourism Chris Tremain says the departure of Waka Tapu this morning from Waitemata Harbour to Rapanui (Easter Island) was an historic moment for New Zealand.

The two waka hourua were guided out of the Harbour by an impressive flotilla including Royal New Zealand Navy vessels, waka tua (war canoes) and other waka hourua.

The 10,000 nautical mile voyage will retrace the steps taken by the ancestors of Māori when they first travelled across the Pacific to make their home in New Zealand. The crew of 18 men and five women will use only wind and traditional techniques to guide them on the journey.

“Witnessing Waka Tapu leave for Rapanui was really inspirational and testimony to the traditions and skills of tangata whenua,” says Mr Tremain.

“This is an innovative partnership with the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua and Te Taitokerau Taria Waka. Te Puia has provided financial and technical support to enable this voyage to be as safe as possible.

“This voyage is a special addition to the wonderful stories of this country, and as Associate Minister of Tourism, I am honoured to be able to help and promote a greater understanding of our culture and heritage thorough this unique event.”

To follow the journey’s progress go to www.wakatapu.com