Waka under traditional navigation arrives in Tauranga from Tahiti to commemorate first Māori-European contact

Source: 1News

A double-hulled waka with celestial navigators from Tahiti has safely arrived in Tauranga Harbour today after sailing 4,300 kilometres in a nearly month-long journey across the Pacific.

The crew is set to participate in the Tuia 250 Voyage around New Zealand to commemorate 250 years since the first onshore encounters between Māori and Pākehā. James Cook's Endeavour arrived in New Zealand in early October 1769.

The Fa'afaite left Tahiti for New Zealand on August 20, where they sailed using traditional navigation.

"The journey has been a tremendous effort by the entire crew," Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Tumu Whakarae chief executive Bernadette Cavanagh said.

"Not only have these voyagers just completed an almost month-long journey across Te Moananui a Kiwa, the Pacific Ocean, guided by the position of the stars, moon and sun as well as other signs in nature like swells and winds, but the crew spent months preparing for this."

"The crew have done an amazing job, holding their course accurately and expertly, whilst Tawhirimatea and Tangaroa challenged them unceasingly once they came into the Southern Pacific Ocean," Tuia 250 Voyage Flotilla Kaitiaki's Jack Thatcher said.

"The strong winds, cloudy, rainy days and nights constantly assailing them would have been daunting even under normal circumstances.

"Moeata and Titaua however were navigating traditionally without instruments much like how their tupuna, ancestors, would have done. They were constantly searching for the signs in their ocean environment that enabled them to pull their fish from the sea just like Maui did."