nEW WAKA HOURUA TAKES TO THE WATER
In 1999 two giant Kauri trees were selected and felled in the Herekino State Forest. These were destined to become a new waka hourua. Since 1999 work on the new waka has been a stop/start affair as other jobs became more important as the need to get them completed was more urgent.
Over the previous few months work on the new waka got down to a more steady pace and over the last week or so a real urgency was sensed around the place.
At a meeting held about four weeks ago it was decided that the launch date for the new waka be set as 30 August 2008. But it was destined to become more than just the launch of the new waka.
Gradually as more organisations became involved the idea grew for a Waka Regatta centered round the launch. With the involvement of Taipa Area School, like Topsy, things grew and grew! What was to be a couple of hours event had now spread into three days! Instead of just Hector, James and John working on the new waka there would, on some days, be as many as a dozen people working.
The program started on Thursday 28 August with Stanley Conrad (Captain of Te Aurere) giving a talk to pupils of Taipa Area School. On Friday 29 August pupils from the bi-lingual unit of Taipa Area School were given lessons on waka
On the afternoon of Friday 29 August the new waka was put in the river ready for the launch on Saturday. However, after all the rain that we have experienced over winter it was decided that the launch ceremony would now take place at the jetty in front of the Taipa Sailing Club. In days gone by this was a significant place as the Mamaru Waka, the ancestral waka of Ngati Kahu iwi used to tie up here. So, Friday evening, after appropriate karakia, at high tide the new waka slipped out of the river and anchored in the bay opposite the house.
Saturday 30th. early in the morning she upped anchor and set out for Taipa ready for the launch and blessing ceremony at 6.30 a.m. This was duly carried out with all pomp and ceremony.
Later the newly named Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti (after Hectors late wife Hilda who passed away in 1996), sailed from the river with a convoy of two waka taua (Rangimarie & Te Ika o Maui) and two waka tete (Uerangi & Whanau Moana) to a Powhiri in front of Taipa Area School.
This was a great day with the Maori King Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki in attendance. His mother the late Queen, Dame Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu had attended the launch in 1992 of Te Aurere. Visitors came from all over New Zealand and even from as far away as Hawai’i.
Beside the waka taua and waka tete there were a great many waka ama visiting Taipa that day and took part in some of the celebrations. The weather gods smiled on us today and gave us a fine day, at least until all the celebrations had concluded.
To make this day as successful as it had been took a great deal of work by a great many people. The page is not big enough for me to thank everybody and I hope you will take this as a personal thank you. However, there are a few people that I must sort out and thank. They are Keringawai Evans, Anna Tripp, Pateriki Toi (Taipa Area School), Te Puni Kokiri, Brett Larkin, Ripeka More, and Georgina Harding. These people gave it everything up to and beyond the call of duty and without them the week-end would not have happened.
Noho ora mai