About Us

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Our Vision

A Waka Hourua for Tairāwhiti providing life-changing experiences to enhance the educational, cultural, environmental, economic and social well-being of Tairāwhiti. Click HERE to find out more.

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Our Waka Hourua ‘Tairāwhiti’ is used as a floating classroom for the benefit of school pupils in the Tairāwhiti region. Our vision is to provide life-changing experiences to enhance the educational, cultural, environmental, economic and social well-being of Tairāwhiti. Visit the Tairawhiti Waka Voyaging Club for more information.

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In 2018 we started a comprehensive feasibility study to investigate the possibility of offering our waka up as a tourism product.  We got buy-in from our regional tourism operator Activate Tairāwhiti, AirNZ and TRC.  We set off on a project plan and started two new products (Cultural Experience and Sailing Experience) at the end of 2018. 

We cater for cruise ships coming into town and local and domestic travels.  We’re proud the commercial arm helps deliver and drive our floating classroom for our rangatahi (pupils) in the Tairāwhiti region.  We believe in sustainability and are members of the Tiaki Promise.


Our Vessel - Waka Hourua Tairāwhiti

One of only nine double hulled waka of this type in the world, mainly powered with special coconut oil and diesel motors, with additional solar power panels for the electrics.

Our waka can hold up to 30 passengers and crew, and includes fibreglass hulls with kwila decking, including local pōhutukawa wood in the bow section.    

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Our Maori Voyaging Ancestors

Polynesian voyaging history spans 7 millennia. Using double-hulled canoes, crafted from trees using stone-age technology, Māori discovered the Islands of the Pacific Ocean, using the ancient art of wayfinding.

As the last piece of the Polynesian Triangle, Aotearoa (New Zealand) was the largest land to be discovered around 1,000 years ago.

The Tairāwhiti Gisborne region was originally settled by Māui on his waka ‘Nukutaimemeha’, Paikea (the whale rider), and crews from waka ‘Horouta’, ‘Tākitimu’, ‘Te Ika a Rauru’ and ‘Tereanini’ - one of the greatest stories of nautical history and achievements by the original blue water sailors, and accomplished navigators.

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Our Team

We are all local people with a love and in-depth knowledge of the region. We look forward to sharing with you the stories of our people, history and culture and ensure you have a truly memorable experience! Read more about our team members below.

Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp
Chairperson Tairāwhiti Voyaging Trust. Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Kahungunu, English.

35 years of experience and knowledge regarding the Waka Hourua construction, managing, carving and sailing including 11 ocean voyagers. More coming soon.


Seda Procter
Kia ora e te whanau, I look forward to meeting and seeing all those who join us on Te Waka Tairāwhiti. It is with great privilege & excitement that we have the opportunity to share with you all the stories of our ancestors, knowledge on our history and add value to your everyday learnings by sharing space with us on board. Ngā mihi Seda Procter.


Sijonel Timu
Sjionel Timu is of Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Kahungunu descent. Raised in South Auckland and mother to Coco and Valentina.  

She has a background in sound, film and art and is interested in work that investigates and develops social change within community. 

Her previous roles include programme coordinator at Script to Screen, collection developer at Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision and festival manager at Te Kuki Airani Film Festival.

Sjionel believes in the importance of sharing the knowledge of waka hourua, our ancestors and of our rich pacific culture with future generations as a means to enrich identity and empowerment. 

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