A Waka Odyssey

Winds of Change

06 February 2018

Change is a constant on the ocean. In Day Six of our digital Waka Odyssey we find out what happens when Mother Nature says "no".

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Gaualofa for Waka Odyssey Winds of Change

Three of the five waka hourua sailing to Wellington for A Waka Odyssey, starting Friday 23 February – Haunui (Te Toki Voyaging Trust captained by Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr) Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti (captained by Jack Thatcher), and Gaualofa (Samoa Voyaging Trust) – had hoped to leave Tamaki, Auckland last week however Mother Nature had other plans.  

“A number of approaching weather systems has the potential to create a number unfavourable sailing conditions for both sea areas Brett and Kaipara” says Teone SciaScia, New Zealand Festival Waka Logistics Coordinator. 

Change is a constant on the ocean. Squalls can spring up quickly, whipping the sea into a blur of foam, and just as fast the wind can die down, becalming waka hourua for days. The possibility of change is part of the magic of voyaging. The ability to respond to the environment and allow time to pass in a different, less compressed way are some of attributes that make a good voyager. 

You need to be able to read the weather, calculate all of the possibilities and make decisions that keep both the crew and the waka safe.

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr

Many sailors describe voyaging as being a visceral experience, one that requires the engagement of all of one’s senses. “You need to be able to read the weather, calculate all of the possibilities and make decisions that keep both the crew and the waka safe,” says Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. No good can come of leaving port in poor conditions. 

While it is hard to marry the business of our contemporary culture to the rhythms of the sea, we must wait for favourable winds to carry the waka safely to Whanganui-A-Tara. 

Fingers crossed it won’t be too much longer until they throw off the bowlines. 


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 Feb – 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 hashtags #NZWaka and #NZFestival. 


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.