Pro surfer Te Kehukehu Butler says Māori connection to moana gives us 'upper edge'

By Te Ao Toa

Te Kehukehu Butler (Ngāti Ranginui) is a pro surfer on the international surfing circuit. He is back in NZ due to Covid and spoke to Te Ao Toa.

Butler started surfing at the age of six, got sponsored at nine, and turned professional at 15. Before his return home, he was out chasing the world title.

"I definitely think there's a connection between us Māori and the moana," he says. "It's been passed down from generations, you know. We travelled on the ocean."

"I definitely think it gives us that upper edge, and knowledge and comfort being on the moana."

Butler says Māori surfing has had a big effect on him, "I remember who I am, and why I surf."