Waka Ama Launched Thanks To Million Dollar Mission Funding
Million Dollar Mission funding of $39,555 was used to purchase the custom-made waka ama which will help to reconnect the children and whānau of the primary school and marae with their history and genealogy. The water has special significance in Māori culture because it symbolises the very essence of life.
‘The waka ama will provide our community with a centrepiece,’ advises Tahuri Tumoana of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Hoani Waititi Marae.
‘All ages from 7 to 70 will be involved. The waka ama have given us a real focal point and something for the whole community to rally around,’ continues Tahuri.
As well as being a focus for Māori culture and customs, the waka ama will help to keep alive traditional crafts as iwi learn how to look after and maintain the waka. In addition, the waka ama provide the perfect vehicle for teaching children and whānau about wider issues like the importance of keeping physically active and how to stay safe on the water.
‘We’re looking forward to building the capacity of the school and marae community in learning how to use and look after the waka ama,’ reports Tahuri.
‘We’re also looking to build links, cultural exchanges and races with waka ama based overseas in places like Tahiti and New Caledonia.’
‘And the boats also provide us with the opportunity to promote te reo Māori and to revitalise our community,’ continues Tahuri.
Without the help of The Trusts Million Dollar Mission the project is unlikely to have gotten off the ground. Tahuri makes it clear just what a difference the funding has made.
‘It’s been our dream for 23 years now,’ Tahuri explains, ‘and finally with the help of the Million Dollar Mission we have our wonderful waka ama. We couldn’t have done it without The Trusts and we’re really grateful.’
‘The Trusts are all about supporting local community and it’s been a real pleasure witnessing first hand the pride these young people have and the pleasure this Million Dollar Mission opportunity has brought now and in future for this community,’ noted Simon Wickham of The Trusts.
For more information on Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Hoani Waititi Marae check out their website.