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11 November 2022

Whale artwork complete, Vaka Paikea prepares for blessing and naming ceremony

Monday 3 April 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Art, Features

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Whale artwork complete, Vaka Paikea prepares for blessing and naming ceremony
Tereapii Ngamata (left) and Steve Daniel admire the completed whale design on the starboard hull of Vaka Paikea. MELINA ETCHES/23033146

The whale artwork on the starboard hull of Vaka Paikea is now complete and artist Tuaine “Katu” Teiti has started working on the port hull.

Master navigator Peia Patai says the port hull will feature a female whale with slightly different designs. He said each of the hulls will also be named.

The maintenance work on the Vaka Paikea is “on target” and everything will be set for the blessing and naming ceremony which will be held on Friday, April 16, starting at 6am.

Vaka Paikea, owned and managed by Te Puna Marama Voyaging Foundation, will make her maiden voyage sailing under the new name to the island of Mauke later this month.

On Mauke, Patai will be conducting workshops focused on the traditional art of voyaging.

In partnership with Tauranga Vananga Ministry of Cultural Development, on Thursday, April 13, Te Puna Foundation trustee Ma’ara Maeva, who is a Cook Islands archaeologist and Pacific programmer at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, will be making a special presentation hosted at the National Museum.

Te Puna Marama Voyaging Society kicked off their first pilot programme with the Ministry of Corrective Services and the inmates of Arorangi Prison a week ago. 

This programme will be run once a week and over the course of 10 weeks or more and covers the theory of sailing followed by practical training sessions.

As part of Te Puna Marama’s education agenda, they had been meeting with the Ministry of Corrective Services to develop a pilot rehabilitation programme using the vaka to introduce those on probation and as well as inmates to traditional voyaging and navigation. 

The main goal of the programme is to help improve the participants’ cultural knowledge and sense of identity as well as to promote positive attitude and behavioural changes.