Riding the wave
Whānau from all over the country travelled to Rotoiti this month to take part in the first of a series of wānanga designed to support the iwi’s waka tāngata project.
Named Hoe Kia Rite, which translates as ‘Pick up your Paddle’, the project is a key focus for for Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō this year.
“Once upon a time we were sea-faring people,” says Cultural Advisor Kiley Nepia. “Our eponymous ancestor Apa-Hapai-Taketake was grandson of Ruatea, the captain of the Kurahaupō waka. Our tīpuna were incredible navigators and the technology they developed was significant and cutting edge for those times.
“Hoe Kia Rite is all about revitalising and transferring that mātauranga Māori associated with waka and navigation.
“It was awesome to have so many whānau support the kaupapa and really moving to be out there on the water as an iwi once again.”
Suz Tawaka, of Nelson, travelled to Rotoiti from Nelson with three of her children.
“I’ve taken so much away from this [and I] can’t wait for the rest. It was awesome to watch the rangatahi, yeah, just a beautiful thing to see and really inspiring.”
Rotoiti, in the Nelson Lakes, was the perfect setting for the first Hoe Kia Rite wānanga.
“We couldn’t have had a better or more special place to start the process of revitalising waka traditions,” says Kiley Nepia.
“It’s ideal that we are here, coming back to this pataka kai, to this wāhi tapu, to revitalise waka tāngata and it just means so much to us.”