A Waka Odyssey

Meet Raihania Tipoki

09 February 2018

In the lead up to their journey to Whanganui-A-Tara for our opening night celebrations, listen to Raihania Tipoki, captain of the waka hourua Te Matau a Maui speak about how the waka whānau in Napier are playing their part in the fight against climate change. 

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“We’re big on using the waka as a centre point for our community.”

Raihania Tipoki is a prominent figure in the Te Matau a Māui and Ahuriri (Napier) waka whānau. “We’re strong in kaitiakitanga, so a lot of what we do is raising awareness about the environmental issues that are impacting on the Pacific, on our water, and what we can do about that.” Kaitiakitanga, the guardianship of the environment is central to the operation of Te Matau a Māui and the waka Trust.

At the start of 2017, Te Matau a Māui opposed the oil exploration of the coast of Aotearoa by confronting the controversial survey vessel Amazon Warrior.

So going past just talking and writing, we’re going and doing.

Raihania Tipoki

Now they are using their waka to participate in the ocean plastics kaupapa. As part of their Waka Odyssey journey to the capital for the opening weekend events Kupe on Friday 23 February and Kupe Landing on Saturday 24 February, Te Matau a Maui will travel down the east coast collecting shoreline data, “hoping to paint a picture of how the South Pacific Gyre is forming.”

Over the next five years humans will be putting more plastic in the ocean than during the entire twentieth century. So Raihania and Te Matau a Māui are committed to protecting the Pacific Ocean environment. “So going past just talking and writing, we’re going and doing.”


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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