Ki mai ngā atua o te pō, ka tuhi kararapa ka uira, ka tō te mahu

Aue ki oki e...tōia te waka

Pōuri pōtango whekere rā, i mau ai te tiheke, hei te tiheke matarau

Haere haere ki te wīwī, haere haere ki te wāwā

Kia whakamau ai kia Tina, Hui Tāiki e!

Although the 6th of February marks the day that we commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by our ancestors and the beginning of the British rule and colonisation, this year another group celebrated the treasures handed down by our ancestors, in particular celebrating our ancient ocean-going vessels.

Every year the ancestral canoe Ngātokimatawhaorua leaves her protective cloak and goes to the waters of Maikuku, namely, the guardian of the ocean in the Bay of Islands.

Everything begins with a prayer then a short greeting to the canoes and the paddlers. To finish off the canoes head off to strut their stuff.

This year we went to the church (Stone Church at Paihia) to commemorate the paddlers who had passed on, to eat together, and then carry the waka to the water. The day was clear and peaceful and the water was like glass. It was beautiful like you wouldn't believe.

Thank you to all of the paddlers that keep the event alive at Waitangi each year, and a thought goes to Puea Herangi as it was her inspiration to use waka taua to connect people throughout the country. To this day, we keep the essence and gift of waka alive!