Two iwi members have been selected for an opportunity of a lifetime, a 10 day excursion aboard the waka hourua “Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti” on one of the legs in the Tuia – Encounters 250 flotilla thanks to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
Paora Mackie (pictured) and Suz Tawaka will begin their journey north to Kororareka (Russell, Bay of Islands) on Sunday, where they will meet with the rest of the crew from Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti before heading south along the coastline.
Paora says, “I believe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, not only to represent my iwi but also to learn and work in an environment akin to when our tūpuna travelled to Aotearoa.”
“I am proud to be flying the Rangitāne flag. I will also be doing this for my grandparents, Manaia (Nugget) MacDonald and Te Puamariri (Marie) Huntley and their descendants. Leaving footsteps for my mokopuna is also important to me. I am just going to give it the best I can with an open mind and an open heart. I want to soak up as much knowledge as I can and bring it home with me.”
Other vessels in the flotilla include the Endeavour replica, Spirit of New Zealand and waka hourua ‘Haunui’ from Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland), and the Fa’afaite i te Ao Mā’ohi,a va’a moana from Pape’ete, Tahiti.
“I would kick myself if I didn’t take this opportunity to express my genuine interest in sailing aboard Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti, representing my people in this significant event” says Waka Ama enthusiast, Suz Tawaka.
“Through the legacies of our tūpuna, it is a ‘no-brainer’ of how proficient and wise they were. In this case, as innovative masters of navigation and voyaging as they journeyed to settle and sustain our people.”
Paora and Suz will arrive with the flotilla in Meretoto on Thursday, 21 November for the pōwhiri led by tangata whenua. The haka pōwhiri will be co-ordinated by Janis de Thierry and will include Rangitāne rangatahi.
On Friday, 22 November at 10am, depending on the weather, the flotilla will sail into Waitohi foreshore where there will be a community welcome. We would like to encourage as many Rangitāne iwi to come along to welcome Paora and Suz home after their journey.
You can find more information on the flotilla here https://mch.govt.nz/tuia250/voyage#waka2
PHOTO CAPTION: Paora Mackie ready to join the crew of Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti in the Tuia 250 flotilla.