A Waka Odyssey

I am the sole navigator of my life’s journey

02 February 2018

Some of the most powerful moments of a waka voyage come when you're under the stars and alone with your thoughts. Find out how it feels in Day Two of our digital Waka Odyssey journey.

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Digital Waka Odyssey charcoal Watch video

Photo: Vanessa Rushton

In Day Two of our 23-day digital Waka Odyssey journey we bring you the first of a series of six illustrated time-lapse works, accompanied by oration, taonga pūoro and poetry. 

Titled I am the sole navigator of my life's journey, and created by Bek Coogan, Nathalie Evans, Georgie Johnson, Matt Ritani, Gaylene Sheehan, Moana Swan and Morgana Watson at our content creation sprint, this artwork depicts the departure stage of a waka journey – being waved off by friends and family and setting out into the fully immersive, often dangerous waters of the Pacific Ocean. 

Voyaging is symbolic of the journey each of us take through life to develop a deeper understanding of ourselves. As sprint participant Moana Swan believes, it is part of finding your place “on this vast marae of the Pacific we call home.” Drawn in charcoal, the piece is accompanied by the sound of the Pūrerehua, a traditional Māori taonga pūoro musical instrument and is an illustrated timelapse.

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. Heading north and sailing down the west coast are Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti (captained by Jack Thatcher), Gaualofa (Samoan Voyaging Trust) and Haunui (Te Toki Voyaging Trust). Travelling down the east coast are 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. 


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. 

Haere mai - Come on board. 

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