A traditional vaka leaves Tahiti today for New Zealand with its crew retracing the pathways of their Pacific ancestors.
The Tahitian double-hulled canoe, Fa’afaite, is part of a flotilla formed to recognise the first encounters between Māori and Pakeha in New Zealand 250 years ago.
But the initiative, dubbed Tuia 250, is also exploring the ancestral routes Polynesian navigators sailed in the Pacific.
The chair of Tuia 250’s governing committee, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, said the voyage would highlight the importance of Pacific discoverers.
“The first arrivals of explorers and discoverers from out of the Pacific, like Maui and Kupe and people like that who first came to Aotearoa, and then the subsequent arrivals of those people,” Mr Barclay-Kerr said.
“So this voyage with the waka departing Tahiti is actually a chance to bring those kinds of journeys to general conversation and a general awareness.”
The voyage of Fa’afaite, which is expected to conclude in September in Tauranga, can be tracked online here.
Article on Radio New Zealand, 20 August 2019