An unforgettable voyage
Iwi members Krissteen Smith, of Christchurch, and Kylie Batt, from Westport, are back on land after joining the Tuia 250 Voyage as trainees aboard the waka hourua, Haunui.
As an open water swimmer, I have always been interested in being in the water, so when the opportunity arose to be part of the Tuia 250 Voyage as a trainee aboard the Haunui it was like a dream come true. My father and his whānau had been brought up in Endeavour Inlet in the Sounds so I felt like It was natural for me to experience what it would have been like to travel on a waka. Our adventure began in Gisborne where we travelled up to Tolaga Bay to meet our crew and the other two waka that were making the voyage from Tolaga Bay to Whitianga where we would rendezvous with the other three tall ships that were part of the flotilla.
The boarding of the waka at Cook’s Cove was very special as this was one of the first places that local iwi encountered Cook and his crew. Despite forgetting my sea legs and being quite ill (along with most of the crew) our captain and two watch captains were awesome and nursed us through that initial time until we were able to be an active part of the crew, trimming the sails, steering the waka, navigating by the stars and being an integral part of the team. The incredible friendliness and support of fellow trainees throughout the trip was one of the highlights of the four days. Even though the trip was cut short because of an injured crew member and rough seas I would welcome another chance to be part of this amazing experience.
Travelling on the waka helped me to overcome fear and placed me outside my comfort zone and made me reflect upon my personal journey in life. This trip also provided me with an insight into how our tīpuna travelled by waka and gave me a great sense of pride in my Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō ancestry.
A special thanks to all the staff at Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō for organising this berth and all their encouragement.
Ngā mihi nui
Kia ora koutou,
For those of you that don’t know me I'm Kylie Batt from Westport. I was recently selected to join the Tuia 250 voyage on the waka Haunui as a trainee for the voyage leg from Tolaga Bay to Whitianga. What an eventful experience!
We left on foot with our packs from Tolaga Bay to hike over to Cook's Cove where the waka had taken shelter from the bad weather and waited it out for hours in ‘Tupaia’s Cave’ – much like himself and Captain Cook did on their voyage – until the tide went down and we could safely get onto Haunui. Once the tide came back in, we were away.
It’s quite an exciting feeling at this stage and it was just beautiful coming out of Cook's Cove. We were split into two watch groups for five and 10-hour shifts. No watches or phones were allowed – with only the sky to help us tell the time. The weather wasn't fantastic, we were getting over 4-metre swells hitting our small waka with no real break between sets.
My favourite part was definitely navigating the waka using the hoe and focusing on the stars to keep us on course. Unfortunately, during one of my crew’s nightwatch shifts we hit some big swells and a crew member was badly injured – we were 30 miles out to sea and were unable to move him off the deck so we spent the next 12+ hours making our way back to land and comforting him and keeping him warm. We got into a small cove in Hicks Bay where we were able to get him off the boat to safety. Unfortunately, we never made it to Whitianga. As we were already a day behind because of weather, our captain decided to take shelter for a couple days. I’m back home now and can’t wait to get back out on a waka – in spite of the challenges I think it's my new thing.
I really wanted to thank Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō for this opportunity, especially the office team who did lots to help make this happen.