May 11, 2020, 4:27 p.m.
One year ago, the Pukepoto haukāinga embraced thousands of manuhiri as the great leader, Tā Hekenukumaingāiwi Pūhipi lay in state inside his beloved whare, Hohou-te-rongo at Te Uri o Hina Marae.
Sir Hector Busby, affectionately known as ‘Papa Hec’, was many things to many people. A literal and figurative bridge-builder, Papa Hec was also a waka builder, a navigator, a teacher, a father, a koro and a friend. His impact was felt throughout Aotearoa, across the Pacific and around the world.
Since the challenge was laid down by the kaumātua John Rangihau and Sir James Henare, Papa Hec revived the ancient craft of waka hourua and navigating by the stars. Papa Hec was honoured by many communities throughout the years but it culminated with the investiture of a knighthood at Te Whare Rūnanga on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds just 3-months before his untimely passing.
Nainoa Thompson, traditional navigator of Hawai'i and a great friend to Papa Hec acknowledged his teachings and achievements as he shared stories to the multitudes gathered at his final farewell.
A cluster of stars that make up ‘Great Hook of Maui’ are highly used by our Pacific navigators; one particular star has received a new name, Hekenukumai. Today, the many people around the world that knew him, his whānau, hapū and iwi all will look to the heavens and remember the great man, Tā Hekenukumaingāiwi Pūhipi.