Regional | Rangatahi

Māori and Pākehā sailing heritage celebrated in Northland

Twenty-four rangatahi from Te Tai Tokerau have been given a unique opportunity to sail two completely different sailing vessels: a tall ship and a waka hourua.

Rere Tahi is a joint venture between the Te Toki Voyaging Trust, run by Hoturoa Kerr and the R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust.

Te Toki Voyaging Trust’s founder Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr said: “After the successful cooperation of sailing together during Tuia 250 celebrations, we are happy to be working alongside R. Tucker Thomson, her crew, and all the sponsors that made this possible.”

The crew set out from Kororāreka in the Bay of Islands and sailed around the region for a total of eight days.

Hinemoana captain John-Reid Willison says the journey was an opportunity for rangatahi to learn the ropes.

“Our leaders named this voyage Rere Tahi, as in Fly Together and here we are flying together.”

“For the majority of this week, they sailed together and learned together. The hope is that they will go out into the world as guardians of the ocean.”

One of the keen sailors was Zhynaliyah Harris, who says sailing on Hinemoana was a dream come true for her. She says sailing in a waka hourua was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“I really like the people on here; it feels so much like a whanau, and it’s full-on and you’re not stopping; you always have to be ready to do something and all the whanaunga talk and that.”

About the R. Tucker Thompson Sailing Trust

The R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust operates a youth development programme based in the Bay of Islands. The primary purpose is youth development, focused on rangatahi from Te Tai Tokerau. Ther trust takes 250 rangatahi, aged from 14 to 18 years, on seven-day voyages on the tall ship R. Tucker Thompson. The trust has a focus on delivering pathways to education and employment through its partnership programme. It traisn graduates and Northland youth to gain their Maritime New Zealand deckhand certification and supports them in employment in the marine industry. The organisation is funded by surplus from tourism activity, generous patrons, grants, donations, and sponsorship. The not-for-profit trust’s mission is to empower all youth in Northland to lead rewarding lives.

About the Te Toki Voyaging Trust

Te Toki Waka Hourua provides lifelong learning opportunities in waka hourua such as navigation, astronomy, marine and environmental science, traditional seafaring technology, and innovation. This organisation is built on the foundation values of aroha, whanaungatanga manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga as well as a collective drive to create opportunities for young people to realise the sophistication of ancestral skills, knowledge, and practises. “The role of a navigator is to look into adversity and find opportunity,” Turanga Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr says.