The making of a waka

Expiring lease prompts call for help

Last updated 13:35 16/07/2014

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This is no simple DIY project in your backyard. Stoney Bourke's waka is a story of love, passion and dedication. Collette Devlin reports.

Bluff man Stoney Bourke has six months to finish a 20-year project and he can't do it alone.

Bourke started on his waka in 1993 but is calling on the community to help him after being told the lease on his shed will expire in December.

Inside it is a 20-metre waka that represents love, laughter and a man's drive to achieve a big goal.

It's about 80 per cent complete, he says.

When Bourke and his wife Megan first started building the waka in Manapouri, the laughter that emanated from his property resulted in them calling the waka "Southern Laughter".

A good boat builder did not rush a job, and that is why he was asking for volunteers to help him out.

"It is ideal for someone with time on their hands who have a skill or want to learn some skills. Those that help can front up later and take some time on board in exchange for their contribution. As well as working in the shed in Bluff, the opportunity also exists to work off site, taking parts away for assembly before bringing them back to Bluff," he said.

If you can help, please contact Stoney Bourke on (03) 2127707 or 027 332 8505.

A TIME OF DEDICATION

Two decades ago, Stoney Bourke and his wife Megan come up with the idea to build a double waka for the community.

  • Bourke starts work on the waka in Manapouri in 1993
  • The couple later shift to Bluff to keep working on the waka
  • Megan moves to Australia to work to keep financing the dream project
  • February 2013, Megan loses her battle with ovarian cancer. Before her death she battles with a BNZ life insurance provider to get a fair payout. Her wish is for Stoney to be able to finish the waka.

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- The Southland Times

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