Hawaiki Rising | Testimonials
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Waka Experiences

Pua Taikato – Grandparent

Even though the week was affected by tempestuous winds and rain, Tori said it was a better experience than [another youth sailing organisation]. Many thanks to Captain and crew for sharing your knowledge with our rangatahi. And a special thank you to the entrepreneur Simon McDonald for his generosity!!!!!!

Ronnie Walters – Parent

Awesome experience for our Rangatahi! My girl absolutely loved it!!! Huge mihi to the whole crew! Special mention to Matua Pat and Whaea Gina! Thank you for taking excellent care of my baby and for all her teachings xxx

Sandra Hemopo – Adult Voyager & School Principal

Miharo. Tino pai rawa atu. Tumeke. Meinga meinga. Te mutunga ke mai o te pai… Need I say more? Book it. Do it. Waka hourua. Te moana. Ko Hinemoana xxx


Chris Clark – Parent

My girl Kiriana couldn’t stop talking about the journey on the way home. The night time watches, the fish, kai, knowledge of stars, friendships created, heaps of laughs (Matua Pat Mohi) high spirits, parts of the waka, land-based activities (nga mihi Cliff Curtis), overall the experience. Keen as now to voyage more. Yes she is shy and quite reserved like her papa, but to hear and see my daughter talk with admiration and gratitude for the experience, warms this ole boy’s heart. Nga mihi nui ki nga kaihoe o Hinemoana ki te whakamana te ngakau nei. Mauri ora.


Te Rawhitiroa Bosch – Adult Voyager & Youth Worker

The Hawaiki Rising whanau are awesome, and Hinemoana has a sepcial magic that touches all that go aboard. Tere ki uta, tere ki tai, whakatere waka, whai mai!


Maria Fitzsimmons – Parent

Just wanted to give the crew a big mihi. My baby had such an amazing time. OMG she hasn’t stopped talking! I asked her what her favourite part was and she said “The aroha”!! Now that’s cool.


Katerina Taikato – Parent

My son loved his voyage. He reckons he wants to be a waka navigator. He told me it was life changing and that you were all whanau now. Thank you so much for looking after him and giving him a new outlook on life. He will definitely be back!!


Maringirangi Pohatu – Language Tutor

My student has changed like a 100%. A completely different girl. She is so positive. She now comes to all our reo classes & is confident enough to speak in class. At school, she used to be picked on for her looks because she is beautiful and this affected her self-esteem. Now, she does not care about any bullying and really wants her reo. Everyone has noticed and commented on the change in her. Her Nan says it’s all because she went on Hinemoana.


Morgan Te Amo – voyager

The hoe tere cut through the water like a knife through butter, slicing waves into thin shards of liquid which would keep us floating and hold us safe. Hinemoana was our home for two nights and three days. She would protect us from Tawhirimatea if his anger blew us off course and into strange seas or turbulent tides. She would call to Ranginui for clear skies and bright stars to show us the way.
We climbed aboard what we thought was a yacht with our adidas bags filled with beauty products and lotions. We were bundled into a tunnel to find that our cabins were more like incubators now filled with teen mama and their drama. The rules were brief but brash, “boat is a four letter word aboard this waka, call her a boat and do 5 press ups,” barked Matua.
Hinemoana swept across the sea with Motiti in her view. The motu crept out of the waves as she neared the shore. They were friends on cloudy days when the motu – Motiti could hide her true form beneath the mist and clouds but today she was fierce as her bulging form was clear and Hinemoana’s beauty made her feel ashamed of her form and Hinemoana’s speed made her hate her stillness.
As we slowly crept up to the island and crept out of our incubators. The day was so bright, as bright as you would imagine heaven would be. We ran to the edge of the boat, 5 press ups later we were like kids chasing an ice cream truck down the road. The excitement of getting in the crystal clear water was so strong we could not wait. We got into our bikini and ran to dive off the front of the waka. I opened my eyes to another amazing world filled with tropical fish just like the on the movie Finding Nemo but only in real life! We all stayed in the warm water until we saw the sunset, then we quickly climbed back aboard the waka in fear of being a sharks snack.
Ranginui opened his arms and light from the stars shone down on Hinemoana’s back. The winds died away and the seas calmed. She swayed gently, side to side, leaning with the flow of the water and bending to the lee of the waves. Those taking refuge in her arms were her mokopuna rocked in the crook of her arm. She was kuia, she was nan, she was waka.
The night was cold on our bare arms so we huddled in a ball in the centre of the deck. Every mum told her story about her pregnancy and telling her parents. Laughter turned to tears as we remembered our children left at home. A whole ocean away. These are the nights that friendships are made between girls who lead separate lives on land but connect at sea.
Maui yanked on his ropes and pulled the sun up to warm Hinemoana’s limbs and make her ready for the day. Breaking at the Motu to welcome manuhiri aboard and sharing the day and the voyage and the kai and the aroha. Hinemoana grew to embrace the manuhiri and with her warmth we all came together as whanau, no longer different or separate.
We frowned as the skipper asked us pour each Motiti manuhiri a glass of juice. I couldn’t understand why they were feeding other people before us when $400 per mama had been paid for that experience. We watched all the manuhiri line up and get their lunch as our tummies growled as loud as a lion. I reminded myself that I was Maori and that this was a lesson in manaakitanga. After lunch Hinemoana sailed us back to the beautiful bay with the crystal clear waters to take the manuhiri back to their home. They thanked us for the amazing journey around their motu and for sharing our life time experiences while listening and learning from
Hinemoana’s heart broke as she spent one last night dancing with Tangaroa. Ranginui once again opened his arms and the stars shone brighter than before. She followed the stars that formed Maui’s hook guiding her home. The same famous hook that Maui used to catch Te Ika a Maui. Hinemoana opened her wings and with the help of Tawhirimatea, she was moving like a bird, cutting and folding with the strength of the wind.

Georgina Hohua – Nan

Kia Ora,

On behalf of Benjamin and myself I would just like to thank you all for the wonderful experience my moko has just undertaken with the voyage of a lifetime I cannot express my gratitude enough he has come back one would say a different moko the storys hes telling me and friendships he has made already swapping phone numbers and fbook pages the photos he keeps showing me I am so grateful a big thank you to the Captain and his crew for a voyage he wont forget for some time God Bless You All.