A re-powered Hinemoana waka made the return voyage to the recent Wellington Festival to be part of the fleet of waka celebrating Kupe’s first arrival in New Zealand.
Kupe is traditionally credited with being the first Polynesian navigator to arrive on New Zealand shores in the tenth century AD.
“We will be doing day sails promoting the re-education of mainstream society about the voyaging navigation traditions of the first sailors,” says Hinemoana skipper Pat Mohi.
“It is a way to get awareness out there, and to do away with the old conversation about drift voyaging.
” They will be talking about sailing against the wind, star navigation and how early navigators used environmental clues in finding their way across the Pacific.
“We’ll be promoting New Zealand’s own voyaging history as well as enhancing awareness of the correct story as we see it, as opposed to what is promoted,” says Pat.
When the endeavour replica re-visits New Zealand in 2019 to mark the 250th year since the first encounters between Maori and Europeans with Cook’s circumnavigation of New Zealand, the story of the feats of the Polynesian navigators will be out there, says Pat.
“I think it’s going to be a first for Wellington, where all the waka turn up at once, promoting hosting and really highlighting the event.
“For me, everybody’s culture at some stage has taken to the water.
It’s something we can all relate to.
”Hinemoana departed Tauranga in mid-February with 19 on board; five crew and a number of students and teachers.
A port call was planned for Gisborne on the way down, with a three-day voyage considered for the Wairarapa Coast.
It is the waka’s first major coastal voyage since being re-powered with twin diesels running bio-fuel.
It gives them more flexibility entering and departing harbours, particularly Tauranga, where Hinemoana can now comfortably enter port against the tide.
“It is definitely making the job easier for us as far as getting to places when there is no wind,” says Pat.
“It is giving the kids really good value for the day sails.
In 24 hours we can get to Mayor Tuhua and Slipper.
It’s opened up the value.
The sails remain the main propulsion for the blue water says Pat.
“Last week we sailed to Tuhua, with no motors, in two-and-three-quarter hours,” - 20 nautical miles at six-to-seven knots on average.
“We picked the wind up perfectly on the beam and we were on the way.
There is always a place for sailing, and without it we have lost the experience.