Regional | Māori

Joelene Busby builds waka hourua to teach next generation

Joelene Busby, a mokopuna of the Māori navigator and traditional waka builder, Sir Hekenukumai Busby, has launched her latest waka project.

Te Waimirimiri is designed to help teach Northland youth traditional Māori techniques to sail waka hourua.

Busby has spent the past six months building Te Waimirimiri, making her the first woman from Te Taitokerau to build a waka hourua, but she didn’t do it all herself, having help and support from local mana whenua Ngāti Taka, Te Waiariki and Ngāti Kororā.

“I couldn’t have this without the blessing and the support of our whānau - the koha and the believing in what we can do, for us to be able to do what we do.”

She says it’s important to continue to pass down the knowledge that she has gained and the tamariki also helped her to build Te Waimirimiri.

“Every kura on the coast should have a waka to teach their kids.”

“So everything on that waka, the majority of it, is handmade, right down to the sails being stitched by our kids. Arakānihi is our lasher, so she has done all the lashing on the waka.”