Hawaiki Rising | Our Waka – Hinemoana
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Ancient Tradition with

new technology 


‘Hinemoana’, the female deity of the ocean, was the flagship of the ‘Te Mana o Te Moana’ fleet of seven which voyaged the Pacific Ocean 2011-2012.  During this epic two year voyage, Hinemoana was crewed mainly by indigenous people from all over the Pacific. Hinemoana returned to Aotearoa in December 2013 after 4 months of tourism and whale watching with the Tongan Voyaging Society. In 2014 she was destined to move to European waters for education with young people in the Mediterranean when ‘The Hawaiki Rising Voyaging Trust’  put forward a proposal to purchase Hinemoana as the vessel for strengthening Māori and Pacific people and communities. So Hinemoana was sold to the Trust in September 2014 and remains in the Pacific with her brother and sister waka.  And her story continues…

“Hinemoana is one of seven ocean going waka built in 2009 to traditional lines with modern materials including solar panels and electric motors. Powered entirely by the elements, she is a model for sustainability”.

Hinemoana embodies the best of traditional knowledge and design with modern technology and is a showcase of different cultures coming together.  She also symbolises the astonishing “can-do” attitude of the early Pacific voyagers who built their waka from only nearby natural materials and sailed for thousands of miles.


When James Cook first came to the Tuamotus and other Polynesian islands around 1770, he was inspired by the canoes and made drawings of them.  On the basis of James Cook’s old measurements and lines and through the initiative of Sir Thomas Davis, the first Vaka Moana “Te Au O Tonga“ was built in 1994 in Rarotonga/Cook Islands.

Seven Vaka Moana have been recreated at Salthouse Boatbuilders in Auckland, Aotearoa NZ, are following these same lines and are based on the traditional double-hulled polynesian sailing canoe design. However, in contrast to traditional vaka with hulls made of one big tree trunk, our hulls are made of E-Glass and Epoxy Resin.

All beams are connected to the hulls through traditional lashings. They require no use of fossil energy as they are purely wind and solar powered.



  • Hulls are made of E-Glass and Epoxy Resin.
  • All beams are connected to the hulls with traditional lashings.
  • Length: 22 m (73 ft.) Beam: 6.5 m (22 ft.) Draft: 60 cm (2 ft.)
  • Two masts
  • Sail area of 79 square m (850 square ft.)
  • Two separate rigs for sailing flexibility – a traditional (crab claw style) and a contemporary. This is advantageous on high seas as it is better equipped to reef the sails on high seas.
  • Capacity: Sleeping berths for 16 crew or passengers and plenty of storage space for 4 tons of food, water and other supplies make long distance voyaging possible and provide considerable cargo capacity.
  • Solar Panels: 8 x 225 W each. Total capacity 1.9 kW. With this capacity the vaka can be driven during sunlight with a speed of 4 to 5 knots. The solar panels and high capacity battery storage can power the electric engines during times of low winds.
  • Battery: 2 x 15 kWh 48 Lithium Polymer system (guarantees an operational range of about 20 nm when there is no wind or at night).
  • Power: 2 x 10 kW electric pods. The pods are mounted under the deck and can be retracted while sailing to reduce drag. The pods can be left in the water while sailing so the spinning of the propeller can regenerate power.
  • Two independent systems: Each hull has one system with one motor,batteries, battery charger, solar panels etc. and because they are totally separated failures in any part can be cross-connected or repaired so that we have full redundancy for the whole system or for parts of each system. While in constant use over the past four years though, we never experienced a situation where the battery capacity or technical reliability provided any problem. We could always fulfil our duties and reach our destination.
  • Deckhouse height of only 1.45 m. It offers room for a small galley, a navigation area and a pilot berth for the watch captain or for sick passengers.
  • The average sailing speed within the two years when they were crossing the Pacific twice was about 7kn or 168 nm per day. The Vaka Moana sails 65° to the wind.
  • Steering: It is steered in a traditional way by a wooden steering paddle (hoe).
  • Navigation and Safety: Mainly operated by celestial navigation. For safety reasons there is a back up compass, GPS or similar navigational installations. However, to ensure safety it is equipped with VHF and AIS as well as safety equipment such as life rafts, life jackets, flares etc. following international safety regulations.

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