Ki te wāhi ngaro...ki te mokopuna ā te motu kia Te Atairangikāhu me te Kāhui Āriki, Te Kauhanga Marae me te iwi o Ngāti Kahu, he mihi whānui tonu ki ngā tuakana ō Te Moana nui ā Kiwa.
“Haere ki Hawaiki nui, Hawaiki roa, Hawaiki pamamao...
Te hono ki Wairua.”
Hekenukumai (Hector) Busby recovers ancient star navigation traditions during an 1,800 mile ocean voyage in his traditional double-hulled waka, Te Aurere, retracing the path of early explorer Kupe a thousand years earlier across the Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa.
First, Hekenukumai makes a pilgrimage to Taputapuātea Marae on the island of Ra’iatea, just north of Tahiti, regarded as the spiritual centre of Polynesia. It was from here that Kupe left for Rarotonga and then on to Aotearoa.
Hekenukumai then returns to Aotearoa to build his waka. Two giant Kauri trees are felled in the Herekino Forest, Northland in August 1990; left to dry for a few months; then hauled to Aurere Beach near Taipa - Hekenukumai’s home.
The double-hulled waka Te Aurere, named from the beach on which it was built was the third waka for Hekenukumai - the first two being single hulled waka taua. The design of Te Aurere is based on the Hokule’a from Hawaii, whose skipper Naenoa Thompson and his star navigator teacher, Mau Piailug both assist with designing and building the waka.
One of greatest achievements of Pacific Islanders was the building and sailing of ocean-going canoes, or vaka. Under the command of chiefs and navigational priests, early Pacific seafarers undertook long oceanic voyages of discovery and settlement in their canoes. They developed advanced skills in canoe design and construction, and navigated by reading the stars, winds and currents, making landfall without the aid of compass, sextant or chart. The 6th Festival, held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from 16–27 October 1992, celebrated the achievements of Pacific Islanders as great ocean voyagers. It attracted over 1800 participants from 23 Pacific Island Countries and Territories.