Waka found by farmer two decades ago returned to its hapū

By Ani-Oriwia Adds

A waka belonging to Ngāti Huia ki Porotawhao found more than two decades ago by a farmer has now been returned to its people to be preserved.

Tucked away in a small shed for many years is a waka which was used in the 1800's by the people of Ngāti Huia to gather kaimoana.

Today it will be returned to it's iwi to be preserved for future generations.

Ngāti Huia ki Porotawhao kaumātua Tiaki Tamehana says, “My heart is filled with joy that the waka has been brought here to be revived and to be restored again.”

Heritage NZ Māori Manager Dean Whiting says, “to find waka from the early 1800's is very rare and especially in the good condition that it is in.”

He says “It is an old waka and waka are becoming very rare. It’s very hard now to find waka that are complete  where there were hundreds and hundreds in this area you’re only getting one or two that actually have survived, so this is a real taonga that’s actually come back.”

Whare Manaaki waka restoration member Manu Kāwana says, “This waka has lived for a long time in an unsheltered place so it has heaps of scars that have damaged the wood. The aim is to clean the waka up so that it’s strong again and able to stand in the new museum.”

The waka will be cleaned and restored and will then feature in a new museum called Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre in Foxton.