May Pānui, 2019

21/5/2019

Riding the wave

Riding the wave Wāhine toa: Paddling the waka in the foreground are, from left, waka support crew member Charmaine Payn, of Nelson, and iwi members Nellie-Jane Robinson, of Christchurch, Te Ao Marama Nepia, of Blenheim, and Manaia Mason, from Rātana Pā. Photo: David James/Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō
Manaia Mason, of Rātana Pā, and Te Ao Marama Nepia, of Blenheim, lead the paddlng at the front. Photo: David James/Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō
Whānau on the water at Rotoiti. Photo: Keelan Walker/Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō
Photo: David James/Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō

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.”

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