A Waka Odyssey

Casting Off

07 February 2018

Karakia invoke spiritual guidance and protection. Listen and watch as artists recreate the moment that waka set sail in Day Seven of our digital Waka Odyssey journey. 

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Photo: Vanessa Rushton

Day Seven of our 23-day digital Waka Odyssey journey brings you Part Two of six illustrated time-lapse works, accompanied by oration. Depicted here, in charcoal is the moment when the waka casts off to voyage into the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

Titled Casting Off, this piece is accompanied by a karakia, traditionally used to open an event, a wananga or a voyage. A karakia is used to invoke environmental and spiritual guidance, and protection. It is opening a conversation with the sky father Ranginui and earth mother Papatuanuku, asking them to align everything in order for the waka to have the best journey possible.

Morgana Watson, co-creator compares this moment to setting off toward a goal. It is solidifying your focus, pulling all the threads together and aiming your waka toward the future and your destination.

Five waka hourua (traditional double-hulled sailing canoes) set sail over the next couple of days to begin their voyage to Whanganui-A-Tara, Wellington Harbour in time for the New Zealand Festival's opening night theatrical extravaganza Kupe, starting 7pm on Friday 23 February. Travelling down the east coast are Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti (captained by Jack Thatcher), Gaualofa (Samoan Voyaging Trust) and Haunui (Te Toki Voyaging Trust), Hinemoana (Hawaiki Rising Trust) – departing Tauranga on 12 February, and Te Matau a Māui – departing Ahuriri, Napier, on the 16 February. 

May the wind be at their backs. 

Created by Bek Coogan, Nathalie Evans, Georgie Johnson, Matt Ritani, Gaylene Sheehan, Moana Swan and Morgana Watson for A Waka Odyssey content creation sprint. Medium: Charcoal, paper, illustrated time-lapse.


Each day, starting  1 February 2018, we will share new videos and stories online so you too can join the journey in the lead up to the start of A Waka Odyssey, 23 February – 4 March 2018. Be part of the story via our website festival.co.nz/waka, on the New Zealand Festival's Facebook and Instagram pages, or using the hashtag #NZWaka. 


Join in A Waka Odyssey celebrations at the spectacular theatrical extravaganza KupeFestival opening night set on Wellington's waterfront; the Kupe Landing: Petone Family Day – a fun beach party for all the whānau; and the Kupe Dreaming series of waka-themed community events and activities. 

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