Hekenukumai has been involved with tarai waka, or waka building since the early 70s. The organisation Te Tai Tokerau Tarai Waka Inc was formed in the late 1980s to build and teach others the traditional art of tarai waka. Hekenukumai has now passed much of his knowledge onto others, Hemi Eruera has been involved with Te Tai Tokerau Tarai Waka Inc since 2002 and has been responsible for much of the waka construction under Hekenukumai's guidance. Below is a breif description of the various waka that Hekenukumai and Te Tai Tokerau Tarai Waka Inc have been involved with building.
MATAATUA PUHI: 1990, Te Tai Tokerau, Waka Taua, up to 36 paddlers, Length 21.8m long, Width 1.5m, Kauri log from Herekino State Forest.
TE IKA A MAUI (Mokopuna):
1992, Aurere, Waka Taua, up to 18 paddlers, Length 14m. Width 1.1m, Kauri log from Herekino State Forest. Mokopuna was made to be a part of the welcoming ceremony in Rarotonga to greet Te Aurere at the end of her maiden voyage from Aotearoa. It was shipped to Rarotonga in a container. In 2005 it was shipped to San Francisco to take part in an exhibition arranged by Tourism New Zealand. It was paddled under the Golden Gate bridge and was escorted to shore by reed waka made by the Olony Indians of California. In 2007 it was shipped to Valencia, Spain to support for Team New Zealand in the Americas Cup.
1992, Aurere, Waka Hourua, up to 14 crew, Length 17.3m. Width 5.4m, Kauri logs from the Herekino State Forest. Hekenukumai's first waka hourua built to sail the maiden voyage to Rarotonga.
NOTE: See below for video clips on the building of TeAurere
TE AURERE ITI:
1997, Te Papa Museum, Wellington, Waka Hourua replica, Length 5.7m, Width 2m,‘Iti’ is a replica which was made for display at Te Papa, it was built a third the size of Te Aurere.
TE AU KAHA:
2001, Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa, Waka Taua, up to 22 Paddlers, Length 16.2m, Width 1.05m, Kauri log from Puketi Forest. Assisted by Ngati Kahu men.
2002, Ngati Whatua ki Dargaville, Waka Taua, Hull made by Hekenukumai Busby, Rarawa, Tau Ihu and Tau Rapa carved by local Ngati Whatua men, Swamp Kauri.
2004, Ngati Kahu ki Peria, Waka Taua up to 30 paddlers, Length 15.9m, Width 1.4m. Hull made by Hekenukumai Busby and Hemi Eruera. Rarawa, Tau Ihu and Tau Rapa carved by Takirirangi Smith & students from Whitiraera Polytechnic. Kauri log from Herekino State Forest.
2005, Aurere, Waka Tiwai up to 2 paddlers, Length 6.7m, Width 0.6m, Kauri form Herekino State Forest. Used the cut out from one of the hulls of the new Waka Hourua . The measurements for this waka were taken from an old waka at Kenana. Karu Tukariri’s mother used to use it for shopping. She would travel down the river from Kenana on the out-going tide, do her shopping in Mangonui and then return home by river on the in-coming tide. This meant less paddling! The original waka is now in several pieces and rotten and beyond repair.
2005, Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa, Waka Tete, up to 16 Paddlers, Length 12m, Width 1.2m. Hull made by Hekenukumai Busby and Hemi Eruera. Rarawa, Tau Ihu and Tau Rapa carved by Takirirangi Smith & students from Whitiraera Polytechnic. Kauri log from Omahuta Forest.
2006, Aurere, Waka Tete, up to 16 Paddlers, Length 12.6m, Width 1.1m. Hull made by Hekenukumai Busby and Hemi Eruera. Rarawa, Tau Ihu and Tau Rapa carved by Takirirangi Smith & students from Whitiraera Polytechnic. Kauri log from Herekino State Forest.
2006, Wellington, An old waka whos hull had been damaged, the Hull was rebuilt by Hekenukumai.
2007, Ngati Awa ki Whakatane, Waka Tete, up to 16 Paddlers, Length 12.6m, Width 1.1m.
2008, Aurere, Waka Hourua, up to 14 crew, Length 17.3m. Width 5.5m, Kauri logs from the Herekino State Forest. Ngahiraka was the name of Hekenukumai's wife and he has dedicated this waka in her memory.
HAWAI'I INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CANOES:
This festival has been one of Maui's main cultural events since it was first introduced in 1999. The festival brings different waka builders from around Polynesia together to represent their own island and build a traditional waka within a three week period. Hekenukumai and his gang have represented Aotearoa and build waka each year for the past decade.
Below are various video clips from when Te Aurere was being built