Left: Tau Iho Right: Taurapa Photo: Ajr April 2009
The carved tau iho, at the front of the canoe, is an ancient genealogical record and a history of construction; while the elaborately carved taurapa (sternpost) is used for navigation. It is designed to cut the head wind and when it whistles, it is an indication that the vessel is balanced and travelling in a straight line.
The waka is still used every year during the Waitangi Day celebrations and it will be the showstopper at the 2010 Year of the Waka Waitangi Day celebrations, when over 50 waka from around the South Pacific come together. To ready her for the event – and her 70th birthday - the team from Te Aurere Waka recently met at Waitangi to give her a makeover. The waka was completely pulled apart and repaired, tarred, repainted and relashed. www.waitangi.net.nz