Monday, March 16, 2009

Northland Waka Enterprise

Here’s another terrific photograph from the team at Waka Taiamai Heritage Tours that I wrote about on Saturday – a post you can see if you scroll down a couple of postings. This is their waka – called Tupi after one of their local Bay of Islands kaumatua (elders), Tupi Puriri. The waka is central to their Kaikohe/Paihia-based tourism operation. It took a month to build using composite and traditional materials and it adheres to traditional Maori waka design principles, which means it’s very stable and safe to paddle. It can be paddled by a minimum of ten people and can carry a maximum load of sixteen people. Speed of course depends on the type of crew and strength behind the paddles – naturally, with tourists on board it’s usually a slower passage, which suits the story-telling occasion.

Both images supplied by Taiamai Tours, Northland.
Waka Taiamai is a Maori family-owned and operated tourism business with very strong hapu (sub-tribe) and iwi (tribe) values. It was established by Hone Mihaka (Ngapuhi) of Ohaeawai, Kaikohe in 2000. The Mihaka whanau (family) have lived in the Te Tai Tokerau (Birthplace of a Nation; Northland) region for over 900 years and are part of New Zealand’s largest Maori tribe, Ngapuhi; and if you take part in their tours you get to visit their tribal marae, Parawhenua.

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