A Maori navigator on board a waka expedition to Rapanui or Easter Island says their connection with Tangaroa or the ocean has been very rewarding on a cultural and personal level.
Two double-hulled sailing canoes Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti have just left the island of Mangareva in French Polynesia, their final pit stop as they sail toward Easter Island.
The two waka left Auckland in September to retrace the ancient voyages of their Polynesian ancestors.
Jack Thatcher says one of the highlights has been catching tuna and seeing the tropical native birds reminding them that they are close to land.
He says it was a special moment, because after floating on the high seas for so long it was good to know they were approaching the island where they could take a break and be treated to some warm hospitality.
The waka tapu expedition is now 1400 kilometres away from Easter Island.