Waka are travelling classrooms and have always been a part of Māori and New Zealand identity.
Hoea te Waka, Piki te Mātau is a new programme that has been funded through the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment Unlocking Curious Minds Fund, and it represents a collaboration between Sally Carson in Marine Science, Dr Anne-Marie Jackson at the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, Mr Brendan Flack at Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki, Mr Hoturoa Kerr at Te Toki Voyaging Trust and other community and iwi groups in Otago, Southland and Auckland.
Waka teach us about engaging with the marine environment and making connections between healthy seas, and healthy people, toiora te moana – toiora te tangata. The programme are using all different kinds of waka such as waka ama (6 person outrigger canoes), the traditional double hulled sailing waka, as well as more modern craft such as stand up paddle boards.
These and other forms of waka are being used as travelling classrooms to engage young New Zealanders up and down the country in the science and custom of the ocean.
The practical skills of paddle-boarding, waka ama, navigating and sailing are complemented by learning about the sea itself, the creatures who live in it, and our relationship with it; and about developing a deeper cultural understanding of the sea’s importance to us in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We will be working with communities, Māori leaders and youth to develop positive attitudes and values for kaitiakitanga and sustainable marine management for future generations.
Navigation is seen as a metaphor for life, and Hoea te Waka Piki te Mātau collaborators hope that this programme will help steer young people into greater health and well-being as well as developing an interest in science and the environment around them.
This programme is supported by: