- 12 October 2017
Special Maori transport
Mainfreight Special Services took care of the transport of a Māori war canoe. The waka will take part in New Zealand's National 100 year Commemoration for the Battle of Passchendaele.The event in Ieper (Belgium) will take place on the 11th of October.
Tamahou Temara of Toi Māori Aotearoa (a New Zealand organisation for the promotion of Mãori art and artists) prepared the waka. Temara says being part of an international forum will help create more opportunities for Māori. "The canoe will be taken there by New Zealand's Mainfreight and the people of Belgium will get the opportunity to experience what being Māori is all about, in the context of the commemorations."
Eight experienced Māori paddlers from New Zealand will lead the canoe called "Te Hono ki Aotearoa" with paddlers from the Njord Royal Rowing Club from Leiden, Netherlands. "The people chosen are experienced and active paddlers, so for us taking the international stage gives us the opportunity to portray our Māori culture and beliefs to the world."
Waka 'Te Hono Ki Aotearoa' was given on permanent loan to Leiden's Museum Volkenkunde.
Since the canoe's inception in the late 2000s, not only has it helped build a stronger relationship with New Zealand's historical connection to the Dutch, it has also made it easier for Māori participation in New Zealand events throughout Europe.
"Some of our paddlers have a direct connection to those who participated in World War 1, not only in the Battle of Passchendaele, but the Battle of Somme, Africa and all those places. It's something our paddlers feel spiritually and can connect with those ancestors they do have in Belgium."
Click here to watch the video of Tamahou Temara.