Te Toki Voyaging Trust was founded over 30 years ago by master navigator Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr.
With his vision and leadership, the trust has since amassed a large fleet of sailing and paddling waka since its foundation.
It is now attempting to raise funds to upgrade their voyaging waka so that the traditional ocean navigation knowledge and practices can continue to be passed on to rangatahi.
One of the Kaumoana (voyagers) of Te Toki, Noenoe Barclay-Kerr says voyaging across the open water is ingrained in her whānau. A nearly forgotten art form, the traditional practice was subsequently revived by a kaumātua from Micronesia, Mau Piailug.
Piailug became a mentor to Hoturoa, Noenoe's father who has instilled the mātauranga of voyaging and navigation in rangatahi through Te Toki.
“The following of the kaupapa waka started off very small but for Te Toki, it's about building that capacity within our rangatahi Māori, all rangatahi across Aotearoa and those that are engaged in the kaupapa,” Noenoe says.
The objective, according to Barclay-Kerr, is to raise $28,000 to upgrade the sails on the waka hourua Haunui and purchase new shrouds and stays for the waka hourua Hinemoana.
“If we replace those two things on the waka, which are quite key to using the waka, that promises more future sails and more facilitation of programmes for rangatahi in the future.”
Te Toki was fortunate, says Barclay-Kerr, to receive support from Foundation North, which funds community initiatives across the North Island and has pledged to match donations dollar for dollar up to $10,000.
“Our goal and what we're asking of the community is to help us fundraise $18,000.”
Te Toki Voyaging Trust is hoping to continue passing seafaring and ocean travel knowledge to future generations of rangatahi, but needs tens of thousands of dollars. Photo/supplied
Impact of Covid-19 on Trust activities
Despite the fact that Covid-19 has changed the way they deliver their programme, Barclay-Kerr says they will continue to hold sessions online.
“As the levels change back to level four, level three, then it has stopped our kaupapa from continuing. So that's when everything moves to online.”
Barclay-Kerr says while waka voyaging is a part of life for those involved in it, people who know how to do it are becoming older, passing that knowledge and passion is needed more than ever.
“It's important that we all get involved thoroughly so that this mātauranga can carry on to the next generation and so on.”
She says Barclay-Kerr, seeing the results in those who take part in the programme are among her most memorable memories of voyaging.
“That's something that's quite memorable, as well as sailing into Kawhia Moana because that's where I'm from and that was probably one of the most memorable moments for me.”