In honour of Matariki, VOYCE Te Waipounamu wanted to conclude this special occasion by educating our young people about Matariki and how it heralds the Māori New Year. What better way to facilitate the significance of Matariki than to first jump in a Waka and then explain the importance of stars in early navigation & how our Tupuna were Tohunga Kokorangi/expert astronomers who paddled traditional Waka in search of new lands with the stars and star clusters as their guiding compass across great distances in the pacific.

We sent out the message to various residences, with some Rangatahi being elated to come along. With the support of our very own Kaiwhakahaere Shane Murdoch and his local Waka Ama club ‘Kaingaru’ based in Naval Point we opened the morning with a karakia acknowledging Tangaroa as we attempt to tread the sea. We then had a time of introduction with each young person sharing their pepeha to make an initial connection with each other as this was the first time some of them had officially met each other. Off we went with the guidance of Tahu Potiki who is a local from Rapaki and an experienced paddler. Our rangatahi/tamariki thoroughly enjoyed the journey around the different bays, with a stop in on the shore of Magazine Bay where there were already dug ponds of heated water for our Rangatahi to immerse their cold feet in.

We arrived back from our paddle with a nice warm sausage sizzle to satisfy the taste buds followed by an educational korero from Manawa who explained the significance of each of the 9 stars of Matariki.