18 May 2012

Epic journey by two double hulled waka launched

9:08 am on 18 May 2012

An expedition by two waka hourua (double hulled sailing canoes) to Easter Island in August is being officially launched in Rotorua on Thursday.

The 10,000 nautical mile return trip will use traditional methods of navigation.

The waka hourua, Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti were built by Hekenukumai Busby who, at the age of 80, will travel on the voyage which retraces the ancestors' journeys to Aotearoa.

Te Aurere has visited parts of the Pacific before including Hawaii.

Jack Thatcher has travelled in the Pacific aboard Te Aurere before and says following the aramoana (ocean pathways) of the ancestors is an uplifting experience.

He says the early voyagers were much hardier than those of today.

Mr Thatcher says the waka hourua will have modern technology on board but only as a back up and the voyage will be attempted using the stars, the moon and ocean currents.

Trainee navigators will guide the two waka with a crew of 24 on a voyage that may end up taking a zig-zag route depending on the currents and the wind.

Mr Thatcher says the trip is likely to take about 10-weeks.