A Waka Odyssey

Welcome Home

23 February 2018

Today, at the end of our digital journey, and in the last in our illustrated timelapse works, we welcome home five waka hourua from Samoa and around New Zealand to Te Whanganui-a-Tara at Kupe: Festival Opening Night

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In Day 23 of our digital journey, we share Part Six in an illustrated time-lapse of six works depicting a waka journey, accompanied by spoken word poetry.  

When waka travel, they are surrounded by the arts. A Waka Odyssey Director, Anna Marbrook says “Artists are drawn to them. They're places of art, they attract filmmakers ... carvers ... storytellers … people fascinated with history and whakapapa." 

This is seen when a waka arrives on land to a welcoming party – the waiata and ritual surrounding a waka’s arrival have been part of Pacific waka culture since voyagers first ventured out beyond their island nations. It is moment for the community to come together, to welcome and celebrate.

In Part One of A Waka Odyssey, starting at 7pm on Friday 23 February, the epic Kupe: Festival Opening Night will see the Wellington waterfront alight with a theatrical pōwhiri or welcome to a fleet of waka hourua (double-hulled sailing canoes) from the Pacific, featuring a resounding musical score by Warren Maxwell, a thousand-strong haka and mass choir in an extraordinary night to remember.

Be part of it.

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.


You've enjoyed the 23-day digital journey now you can be part of A Waka Odyssey, 23 Feb – 4 March 2018. Share your story, on the New Zealand Festival's Facebook and Instagram pages, or using the hashtags #NZWaka and #NZFestival. 


Join in A Waka Odyssey celebrations at the spectacular theatrical extravaganza KupeFestival opening night set on Wellington's waterfront 23 February; the Kupe Landing: Petone Family Day, 24 February – 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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