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‘A new legacy of Paikea’ launched and ready to serve

Saturday 15 April 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, National

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‘A new legacy of Paikea’ launched and ready to serve
Te Puna Marama Voyaging Foundation trustees, master navigators Tua Pittman (left), Peia Patai, local artist Tuaine “Katu” Teiti and trustees Cecile Marten and Ma’ara Maeva. MELINA ETCHES. 23041459

Vaka Paikea is a long-time dream come true for Cook Islands master navigator Peia Patai.

At the break of dawn yesterday, the blessing and naming ceremony of Vaka Paikea took place with a good crowd of voyaging society members, families and friends and vaka visitors from Aotearoa New Zealand in attendance.

Te Puna Marama Voyaging Foundation trustee member Tua Pittman, also a master navigator, emceed the occasion who noted Patai’s vision and concept to launch the vaka – “a dream which it has now come to fruition”.

“Peia’s dream and our dream has come true eventually, the idea is to connect Paikea… there’s so many different legends about Paikea,” said Pittman.

Patai said he was “relieved and humbled to see the completion of the maintenance, artwork and preparations of Vaka Paikea,” and to see the good crowd attend the dawn blessing.

Pastor Ngarima George, Te Puna Marama trustee Ma’ara Maeva and Hoturoa Kerr from Aotearoa New Zealand’s Te Toki Voyaging Trust were given the task to perform the special ceremony to “kiriti ingoa” – to respectfully remove the vaka’s original name of Okeanos Waaqab to be replaced with Paikea.

Secretary of Culture Anthony Turua said the occasion was a proud and emotional event.

“The new Paikea that will represent our next generation, the new legacy of Vaka Paikea to assist the passing of cultural identity and heritage to younger generations,” said Turua.

“Vaka Paikea has all our designs on it and the legend that goes with it, Te Puna Marama, our matakeinanga (community) is alive, it’s been woken up, this is the new Paikea and our younger generation will be able to learn their traditional knowledge around voyaging as a way of survival.”

Maeva, who is also the Cook Islands archaeologist and Pacific programmer at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, said the name “Paikea” is always used and noted in Aotearoa and not really in the Cook Islands.

“It’s never too late, we are making a move now for us.”

Paikea has ancestral connections to the island of Mauke, the Pa Enua and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Patai would like to acknowledge everyone who has helped out with the project, and noted the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea who has established sustainable sea transportation in the Pacific since 2010.

He also thanked Minister George Angene and the Ministry of Culture, Te Toki Trust, artist Tuaine “Katu” Teiti, family and friends and all others who supported them.

Te Puna Marama Voyaging Foundation trustees are: Peia Patai, Tua Pittman, Cecile Marten and Ma'ara Maeva.