Kanaka Māoli Bring Kawe Mate To Te Taitokerau

Dec. 13, 2022, 4:20 p.m.

The year 1984 saw the arrival of Hōkūlea to the shores of Aotearoa from Hawaii. The journey played a significant part in the inspiring revival of ocean navigation in Tai Tokerau.

This saw the rebirth of seafaring and re-learning of the knowledge and skills handed down to the Maori from their ancestors.

The historical voyage that culminated at Te Tii Marae in Waitangi saw Sir James Henare address the Kānaka Maoli delegation by saying, "You have shown that it can be done as it was done by our ancestors, to me this is a most important occasion".

"I smile and I laugh and I shall smile again tomorrow with all the critics who said it was never done, you have proven that it was done and you've done it".

The arrival of Hōkūlea and those famous words saw Sir Hekenukumai Busby accept the challenge from Sir James Henare to sail in the waves of our tūpuna and revive a legacy that survives today.

Elders at the time were so impressed with the feats of the Kānaka Maoli that they called them the Sixth Tribe of Te Tai Tokerau and bestowed them the name of Ngāti Ruawāhia. 

Ruawāhia is a name shared with Kānaka Maoli whose counterpart is Hōkūlea, which means star of gladness.

This star guides them home to Hawaii, hence the 'gladness' returning to loved ones associated with Hōkūlea.

Such was the bond forged between Hekenukumai Puhipi and the Hawaiian people that he gifted them some land at Whetū Marama for them to build a marae on in the future.

This weekend saw the return of the Kānaka Maoli and with them, they bought the Kawe Mate of tūpuna that had passed in recent years and the rekindling of whakawhanaungatanga that began many years ago.



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