Waka arrives at Karitane

The waka  Haunui  moored at Karitane yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The waka Haunui moored at Karitane yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.

An ocean-going double-hulled waka is visiting Otago waters.

Haunui, which has travelled around the Pacific promoting waka knowledge, arrived at Karitane yesterday.

Captain Greg Gallop, of Nelson, said the 22m-long waka was of similar dimensions to traditional voyaging waka, as recorded by early European settlers.

''We stand in awe of the courage of those 1000 years before, when many Europeans still thought the world was flat, that they were sailing back and forth across the Pacific.''

Capt Gallop first travelled on the waka two years ago when he and the 16 crew made a 25,000-nautical-mile voyage across the Pacific.

This trip was a way of thanking those families who supported the volunteers during that period, as ''it is important they can see the waka and touch the waka''.

After the Pacific voyage, Haunui returned to Auckland where Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr helped raise funds to allow the Te Toki Voyaging Trust to buy the waka.

Capt Gallop rejoined the vessel in March when he and the crew left for Auckland and sailed to places including Cape Reinga, Porirua, Wanganui and Golden Bay.

It is believed to be more than 100 years since the historic Karitane area was last visited by a double-hulled ocean-going waka, he said.

The vessel, which is always opened to the public, is likely to visit Otakou next week.

The voyage was expected to be completed in Auckland by late May.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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