Paddlers complete unique sea commemoration of Anzac Day

By Contributor

By Ngarima Ioasa, Whakaata Māori videographer 

2022 Anzac day was captured in a unique Māori and Pasifika way, with commemorations taking place at Te Wai-O-Tāiki also  known as Panama Road ramp, an Oceanic reconnection to Te Moananui-A-Kiwa for wakaama whānau, young and old. 
Nellie Monga, 12,  joined by her grandmother and fellow paddlers, attended the dawn event in mid-autumn showery conditions. “We woke up in the morning at 4am and arrived about 4.30am.” 

The roopu of wakas paddled in complete darkness to perform karakia and waiata as the sun rose. 
Facilitator Deb Misuepa organised the event. “It was special in that, in us going on the water, we acknowledge that the soldiers went to war by sea,” with traditional bugles heard at the point the waka converged.

Monga was happy, “going out for a paddle and celebrating Anzac,” with her ramp whanau.  
They were seafaring mana whenua and Pasifika people practising their cultural rituals in the name of wars gone by that had taken loved ones. 

“Our tīpuna and our whānau sacrificed their lives so we could be here today,” Deborah Misuepa said. There was the inclusion of Oceanic reo.

“It was nice hearing everyone talking about their whakapapa, talking in their own language.” Monga said, as waiata in different reo were heard. 

“Quite a few of the paddlers hadn't participated in an Anzac Day ceremony before," Misuepa said. We were able to provide the same sort of programme that the RSAs follow but we did it in our own unique way, 

"We did it with a paddle salute as well, which you wouldn’t get at any other dawn ceremony,” she said.