13 Sep 2012

Weather hardens Waka Tapu crew: Skipper

7:30 pm on 13 September 2012

A traditional Maori seafarer says the elements his crew are faced with remind them about how brave their ancestors were when they sailed from the Pacific islands to Aotearoa.

Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti left Auckland last month on the Waka Tapu expedition to complete the last leg of the Polynesian triangle.

The two doubled hulled canoes are roughly located about 200 to 300 nautical miles south of the Austral Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, as they make their epic journey to Rapanui or Easter Island.

The skipper and head navigator of one of the waka hourua, Jack Thatcher, says unlike his tupuna his crew are wearing thermal clothing to protect them from the weather.

He says his mind boggles at what his forebears had to put up with.

Mr Thatcher says while they were in New Zealand waters they had to cope with freezing conditions at night, and then they sailed through two storms.

The Waka Tapu expedition is about nine days away from reaching Tubuai in the Austral Islands.