11 Mar 2013

Waka legend to start training centre in Far North

7:02 pm on 11 March 2013

Renowned waka builder Hekenukumai Busby has been given the all clear by the Maori Land Court to develop a whare wananga for kaupapa waka.

The canoe building and navigation training centre is to be set up on part of his 2.5 hectares of reserve land in the Far North.

Some of his whanaunga (relatives) objected to the land being made a reserve but those calls were overruled by the court last year.

Mr Busby said the centre will teach navigation by the sun and stars, waka building and carving, and could take about 20 students living in over the weekend.

The 80-year-old, who has made over 30 waka, said he made the land a reserve to safeguard the project for the future so his whanau cannot disrupt it once he has gone.

Mr Busby said he's been teaching students from his home and a garage for many years, but it wasn't ideal.

He said he's driven by the interest coming from the younger generations.

Mr Busby said there are hopes that legitimate qualifications could come from the course.

He hopes building will begin before the end of the year.