This weekend heralded a significant event for the Waitaha whanau, hapu and iwi. Rangi Te Maiharoa and his son Shane built a Mokihi to the traditional design of their ancestors. The whanau and hapu trialed it at Lake Laird last weekend. There was much interest from the local community and many people had the opportunity to paddle her. All was in order for the journey down the Waitaki River this weekend.
The dawn was spectacular leaving the sky in a glowing silvery light for the launch. Sister Ann Te Maiharoa-Dodds recited a blessing and karakia for the crew and the mokihi. The reed canoe was then gently ushered into the quiet waters of the river.
There were three paddlers, Shane Te Maiharoa, his neice Katarina Te Maiharoa and Bruce Parker on the first day. The support crew consisted of one jet boat and a kayak paddled by other family members. The kayak had a difficult job keeping up with the mokihi. The second and final day saw just Shane and Katarina paddling the Mokihi escorted by three kayaks containing other family members.
There was much jubilation when they all arrived safely at their final destination. The river conditions were perfect. The weather was perfect. The ancestors were very joyful because of this epic event. A journey of remembrance. A journey honouring the knowledge of the ancestors. A journey of aspiration and inspiration for the young generations involved. Ka nui te aroha ki a koutou, he taonga tuku ihu na nga tupuna.