July 2017: Chief executive of Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa, Paora Te Hurihanganui led the group who took part in the Adaka Festival at Whitehorse, north-west of Canada.
There they performed and built a waka which was a fusion between a traditional Canadian and Māori waka before going to Edmonton for the World Indigenous Nations Games.
"The genesis came from Lyonel Grant and a few years back he went up [to Whitehorse] and did a piece at the festival. The idea was borne out of the fact that Canada was going to celebrate 150 years as a nation and as part of that they wanted to revive traditional watercraft. So Lyonel being there and having discussions gave birth to the idea of Māori going over and supporting the kaupapa of reviving traditional waka and watercraft," Paora says.
We tried to source kaihoe from our current membership and went further out into Te Arawa, those that we worked with in the past and further out into the iwi. We tried to get a wide range of experienced paddlers and performers and artists", explains Paora.
Training with the kaihoe leading up to the event was held at Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa.
“I think there’s a whole range of things that we can platform off, start legacy building with the particularly iwi we are engaging with in Canada. The Yukon are really interested in bringing their young people here and having rangatahi exchanges in the future, so we’re going to build that platform and have negotiations with their tribes. The building of the waka is symbolic of two people moving together looking to advance the health, wellbeing and education of our young people going forward,” he says.
"Moving into the World Indigenous Nations Games, this is about Rotorua, Te Arawa putting in the idea, Aotearoa is hosting the World Indigenous Nations Games and Te Arawa and Rotorua want to be central in that development and hosting it in the near future."
Watch videos of their haerenga here.