Waka work begins

Last updated 05:00 30/09/2009
NGAPUHI WAKA: Ngatokimatawhaorua, out in the sun again for the first time in more than 40 years.

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Historic Ngapuhi waka Ngatokimatawhaorua has been taken from its house at Pukerata Marae at Otaua for restoration.

The work will allow it to lead a flotilla of 28 waka at next year’s treaty celebrations at Waitangi on February 6. It will be 170 years since the signing took place.

The waka was carved in 1936 from a single tree from the Russell State Forest at Ngaiotonga.

Toki Pangari – well known in Kaikohe for his odd form of transport – designed the 15.9-metre waka. When his horse and cart was unavailable, he rode his cow.

The restoration work will be done under the supervision of Hector Busby with his team of skilled craftsmen at his home at Aurere.

The decision to do the restoration work there is because of the tight time-frame in which the project has to be completed.

With many hands to help guide the waka from its house, it made a smooth transition to a specially built trailer that took it to Taipa.

The road journey was completed safely and the waka was welcomed at Ngati Kahu marae, Kauhanga Hau, at Peria. This is where all northern waka traditionally gathered.

The next day it completed the journey to Mr Busby’s home, where an entrusting ceremony took place. During the four-month restoration many from Otaua and other Ngapuhi iwi are expected to help, and train as paddlers.

After the 2010 Wai-tangi Day celebrations, the waka will feature at the Hokianga signing celebrations at Mangungu on February 12. From there it will return to Otaua.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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