28 May 2010

Waka to be built for Dutch museum

11:00 am on 28 May 2010

Representatives of the Maori arts promotion group Toi Maori will travel to the Netherlands early next month putting in place arrangements for a 14-metre ceremonial waka to be housed there.

The organisation of Maori artists has joined forces with the Volkenkunda Museum in Leiden to have the vessel built by master waka builder Hek Busby and carver Takirirangi Smith in the Bay of Islands.

Toi Maori's Tamaho Temara told Waatea News the museum's director came to New Zealand last year wanting to buy a waka but when he found out that such taonga were not for sale, a plan to build the waka was formed.

He said the group has always dreamed of having waka overseas and leaving it there, because every time it takes a waka overseas there are "astronomical" shipping costs to pay.

"We've done that since 1992 - we had our first waka over in Rarotonga at the South Pacific Festival of Arts," he says.

Mr Temara says the waka will be launched in the Bay of Islands at the end of next month and handed over to the museum mid-October.