Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On Getting Lost

I got lost in the Bay of Plenty town of Whakatane in May. I was passing through on my way to Opotiki and on around East Cape and, having already travelled from Rotorua, I was conscious of the miles yet to travel before I arrived in Te Kaha. But sometimes getting lost is a blessing. I found that many times of this year’s Frommers New Zealand trip – each time I was unsure of directions (rarely I might add), I was always presented with ‘a small gift.’ In this case, I found myself outside a marae in the centre of town and then, driving around the beach on what I thought was the right road, I found myself in a dead-end. But with that dead-end came the bronze statue at the mouth of the Whakatane River, the memorial to the landing of the canoe Matatua, which I’ve written about on this blog previously (enter Whakatane); and this waka (canoe) in a shelter beside the river.

Named Hinemoana, this waka tetekura is a ceremonial waka built at Te Aurere in the Far North in February 2007, by Hekenukumai (Hector) Busby. It was designed to enable young people to develop the personal leadership and teamwork skills that come with being part of a waka crew. It’s built with a solid kauri hull with other components in totara and synthetic materials and the Maori carvings were created by Jack Brooking, Albert Te Pou and Tamati Holmes. The eagle mask was created by Canadian master carvers Dempsey Bob and Stan Bevan; and painting is by Theresa Reihana. The waka’s home base is in this custom-built shelter in Whakatane. www.TeAurere.org.nz

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