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Waka tapu arrive safely at first stop-over

Saturday 29 Sep 2012 11:10 a.m.

The waka sailed out of Auckland in August  (Photo: Imogen Crispe)

The waka sailed out of Auckland in August (Photo: Imogen Crispe)

Two traditional waka tapu on an epic journey across the Pacific have reached their first stop-over at Tubuai, a remote group of islands in French Polynesia.

The two double-hulled waka, Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti, sailed out of Auckland in August without modern navigational aids in a bid to re-create a Maori ancestral journey to Rapanui (Easter Island).

Awhina Thatcher, wife of chief navigator Jack Thatcher, told NZ Newswire today the waka had just pulled into the lagoon at Tubuai.

They were expecting a huge welcome from the islanders, who had been waiting anxiously for their arrival, and would stay about a week.

She said she and her family were relieved the waka had made it after 43 days at sea.

"But I think I'm more relieved for them - everything that could be done has been done and they'll be really happy."

The 20 crew of the two waka are using only the stars, moon, sun, ocean currents, birds and marine life to guide them. However, each waka does have a tracking device on board, as well as a satellite phone, in case of emergency.

NZN

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