Get on your waka and ride Grandma…!

View photos of Nga Kaiawhina in their waka

…or perhaps I should say kuia instead of grandma. Recently, as part of a Treaty of Waitangi training session, a privileged group of library staff had the pleasure of spending the morning paddling up the Styx River from the Janet Stewart Reserve on a genuine hand-carved waka.

Led by a lively and highly knowledgeable trio of kaihutu, or guides, we underwent an entertaining and informative trip up the river. We sang waiata, listened to local history stories and they shared their whakapapa with us.

We also learned how to say our own pepeha, which is a brief form of introducing yourself in Maori.

As part of our bicultural plan (Te Ara Hou) a number of us have taken the option to learn some basic Te Reo and become more familiar with tikanga, or customs. As a learning tool there is perhaps nothing quite so effective as the good old total immersion (no pun intended!) technique for getting the hang of the way things were done back in the day. Having a strong understanding of the history of our country is a vital link to building bridges for our future.

Check out these instructional books on building your own waka:

And last but not least check out the waka tours! Fantastic team exercise opportunity and a great way to check out our local treasures.

One thought on “Get on your waka and ride Grandma…!

  1. Haneta March 9, 2010 / 2:57 am

    Ae it was a wonderful experience. As a member of the Styx Living Laboratory Trustboard Management group it was fanatastic to see the river being enjoyed in this way. The weather was perfect and our skills on the hoe (paddles) barely made a ripple on the surface as we glided down the river amongst the trees. Leaning out and scooping juicy fat black berries from the bushes and dunking them in the river to wash them before we ate them just added to the enjoyment of the moment.

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