Ōkahu Bay welcomes Pacific waka

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Six voyaging waka from around the Pacific made their way onto Auckland's Ōkahu Bay today in a celebration of Pacific unity.

Some of the double-hulled waka made the eight day journey from Australia to reach their final destination here in New Zealand.

It has been almost 30 years since some of the waka touched the shores of Ōkahu Bay, a sight that Hekenukumaitawhiti Busby knows all too well.

“It takes me back to the first time Hōkūle'a arrived here in 1985, but lots of these have evolved since then.”

Te Aupouri descendent Stanley Conrad is a navigator on the Hawaiian waka Hōkūle'a, he says waka is in his blood.

“When I was young, I used to be on Ngātokimatawhaorua with my dad, Hekenuku and the elders, then I left, that's when I started my waka journey, but my double-hull waka experience started in Waitangi o Hōkūle'a.”

Hawaiian native, Ka'ohinani Kamalu says it's important to pass this knowledge down.

“It's all about honouring the voyaging culture, and passing down to the next generation, and the next generation.”

Now their next mission is to educate people around the importance of the ocean.