Tauranga-based Hinemoana waka has arrived in Gisborne as she heads to Wellington, where she will be part of a waka fleet celebrating Kupe's first arrival in New Zealand.
There are 19 people on board, five crew and a number of students and teachers from several schools, says skipper Pat Mohi.
Hinemoana, along with other waka making the voyage to Wellington, are part of the main event on the Wellington Festival opening night on February 23.
Kupe is traditionally credited with being the first Polynesian navigator to arrive on New Zealand shores in the tenth century AD.
“We will be doing day sails promoting re-educating mainstream society about the voyaging navigation traditions of the first sailors,” says Pat.
“It's just a way to get awareness out there, do away with the old conversation about drift voyaging.”
They will be talking about sailing against the wind, star navigation and how the early navigators used environmental clues in finding their ways across the Pacific.
“We'll be promoting New Zealand's own voyaging history and well as enhancing awareness of the correct story as we see it, as opposed to what is promoted,” says Pat.
“I think it's going to be the first for Wellington, where all the waka turn up at once, promoting hosting and really highlighting the event.
“For me everybody's culture at some stage has taken to the water, it's something we can all relate to.”
It is the waka's first major coastal voyage since being re-powered with twin diesels running bio-fuel.
It gives them more flexibility entering and departing harbours, particularly the Tauranga home port where Hinemoana can now comfortably enter port against the tide.
“It is definitely making the job easier for us as far as getting to places when there is no wind,” says Pat.
“It is giving the kids really good value for dollar for the day sails. In 24 hours can get to Mayor Tuhua and Slipper. It's opened up the value."
Hinemoana waka is operated by Hawaiki Rising and offers voyages out of Tauranga for young people.