The man who has revived the art of waka building in Aotearoa, Hekenukumai Busby, said it was a great feeling to see a fleet of them on Auckland harbour on Friday evening.
The Ngapuhi tohunga built eight of the 20 waka taking part in the opening ceremony for the Rugby World Cup.
Having been at the Auckland Maritime Museum earlier in the day, he said he had never seen so many waka there at one time.
But "Hek" Busby says for him the event is all about the way the waka movement changes the lives of young people who become kaihoe, by teaching them culture and discipline.
He says if the sight of the waka and the warriors at the Rugby World Cup opening inspires just one young Maori person to join the waka movement, that will be a victory and a bonus.