Te Toki Waka Hourua

Dedicated to revitalising and celebrating traditional Pacific voyaging culture.


Te Toki Waka Hourua

Our Pacific ancestors are the greatest ocean voyagers and navigators, exploring the furthest corners of the vast Pacific Ocean, and beyond. This knowledge and skill had been passed down through generations for thousands of years, surviving and protected within indigenous knowledge systems. By the mid 20th Century, this knowledge had been lost from many families and cultures, and by the 1970's the knowledge only remained alive within a handful of navigators in Micronesia. Following the transfer of knowledge from Papa Mau Piailug to a select few navigators from around the Pacific, the practices of traditional Pacific ocean navigation are actively being revitalised and preserved.

Te Toki Waka Hourua is committed to ensuring that the traditional knowledge and practices of ocean navigation remains alive, by sharing and celebrating these skills with the community, maintaining and sailing a fleet of training and voyaging waka, and training the next generation of navigators and crew who will continue to keep these practices alive.


“Success is Succession.”

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr  |  Founder

The Bros Heading for Motungarara.jpg

Our Waka Hourua

Pūmaiterangi, Haunui, and Aotearoa One, outside the New Zealand Maritime Museum in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland).

Pūmaiterangi, Haunui, and Aotearoa One, outside the New Zealand Maritime Museum in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland).


Pūmaiterangi was built as a result of a conversation between Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr and waka enthusiast Gary Dierking, after seeing a number of waka that Gary had built. Hotu spent time at Gary’s whare in the Coromandel to further discuss hull and sail design for a small training waka.

Based on the Tuamotu waka design, Tipairua, Pūmaiterangi was constructed from yellow and red cedar, using the strip plank method, and to be used to learn more about the sailing characteristics of this style of waka hourua. With Hoturoa’s vision of eventually building his own version of Te Au o Tonga (a tipairua design), Pūmaiterangi enabled the first step towards fulfilling this vision. 

Construction was finished in 2003, and Pūmaiterangi was launched on Kawhia Moana at Maketū Marae. The ceremonial karakia for the launch was performed by the famous Tainui orator, and good friend of Hoturoa, John Haunui, and Pūmaiterangi’s maiden voyage had the honour of having Dame Te Ātairangi Kāhu as his first passenger. Pūmaiterangi was named after the older brother of Hoturoa, captain of the Tainui waka, who stayed behind in Hawaiki when Tainui left for Aotearoa, reminding the Tainui people of the whānau who stayed behind.

Since then, he has travelled the length of Aotearoa, helping more whānau to engage with the waka kaupapa, and he now carries those stories to help Te Toki Waka Hourua better develop their sailing skills. He currently resides in Tāmaki sailing the waters of Te Waitamatā and Hauraki Gulf.

Aotearoa One

Named by Rongo Wetere, founder of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TWOA), Aotearoa One (Ao1) encompasses the institutional name of the Wānanga and Aotearoa Institute who were a major part of the project at the start. She was called Aotearoa One because their original idea was to build a second waka Aotearoa Two. Her construction began on the Raroera campus in Hamilton in 2002, moved and was completed on the Manukau campus, and launched at Okahu Landing 21 Feb 2004.

Her hull design was a marriage between the tipairua and vaatele, and the sails a marriage between Cook Island & Marquesan sails.

Like all waka hourua, there are many people involved in the creation, development, building, operation, and maintenance to ensure kaupapa waka has a strong foundation and whānau wrapped around it to ensure longevity.

Original whānau;

  • Bruce Birnie - Project Coordinator & TWOA Manukau campus manager and marine engineer,

  • Irvin Adams - Construction Coordinator,

  • Tip Reedy - Kaumatua,

  • Stuart Birnie - Sail coordinator & skipper,

  • Mana Forbes & Manihera Forbes - Identified the kōhatu mauri for the waka,

  • Te Au o Tonga crew - Taught lashing and sailing skills,

  • Mentors: Mama Liz Peyroux - Wahine Toa, and Mother of the Vessel and Crew, Kuia. Pererika Makiha, Toa, 2 IC of Kaihoe Waka programme, and involved in bringing tauira across from TWOA Kaihoe Waka program to Ao1,

  • Papa Tigua Reedy - Kaumatua,

  • Sir Tom Davis - Traditional Waka enthusiast.

In 2016, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa put Aotearoa One up for tender, at which time Hoturoa was fortunate enough to take the responsibility to become the current kaitiaki, operated with Ema Siope as mentor, Kerehama McLeod as skipper and education program developer, Mama Liz as kuia and John-Reid Willison managing maintenance.

Aotearoa One is now a floating classroom and training platform for everyone wanting to staircase their abilities and work towards offshore voyaging on Haunui. She is also a great platform for Rangatahi Leadership development programs we currently offer.

Over time, she has given the opportunity to a number of people fortunate enough to take the role and responsibility of a waka hourua captain. The first captain was Stuart Birney, and subsequent skippers were Greg Gallop, Arnold Gurau, Jeff Iken, Brian Pene, Murray Bright, Kalei Velasco, Stanley Conrad, Duncan Morrison & Ema Siope, John Reid Willison, and currently Kerehama Mcleod.

Aotearoa One was originally adorned with carvings which were carved in Kihikihi. From them, moulds were taken and fiberglass versions mounted on Aotearoa One. They were deliberately generic to include all Iwi practices. It is said that any group that come on board bring their own stories of the Tauihu/Taurapa with them. To better preserve the carvings and improve waka performance, the carvings are now resting in Kawhia, under the watchful gaze of Tainui waka. 

Aotearoa One has been a coastal voyager for most of her life, delivering rangatahi development programs along the East Coast of Te Ika ā Māui, as far north as Aurere (Doubtless Bay), and as far south as Tūranganui ā Kiwa (Gisborne). In the early part of her life, Gulf Harbour Marina (Whangaparaoa) was her home, and since being in the care of Te Toki Waka Hourua, she now resides in the waters of Te Waitamatā at the New Zealand Maritime Museum marina.


Haunui is a replica of a Waka Hourua (traditional double hulled voyaging canoe), built by Salthouse Boat builders in Auckland in 2009, funded by Okeanos Foundation of the Sea. Haunui was built with a combination of natural and modern materials. The specific design and model of the fleet was taken from molds of Te Au O Tonga, which resides in the Cook Islands.

The fleet of Waka hourua was formed for the ‘Te Mana o Te Moana’ project, a project that involved voyaging the Pacific with a mission to spread awareness of climate change and its effects on our oceans. Haunui was the second waka of three, initially built to start the trials for the fleet that is to be seven canoes strong in honour of the migration histories that tell the story of seven canoes voyaging to Aotearoa over 1000 years ago.

Haunui was originally for American Samoa and was given the name Va’atele. He was completed and shipped up to the islands. His maiden voyage was from American Samoa to Samoa in 2009. Hoturoa sailed the third canoe of the build, Te Matau a Maui of Napier to Samoa where they were to meet up with Va’atele. But then a tsunami hit the island and the waka was damaged on the pier and left. Dieter Paulman the German philanthropist who formed the Okeanos Foundation of the Sea shipped Va’atele back to New Zealand and to be salvaged for its parts but Hotu said to Dieter that he would like to take care of him under his organisation Te Toki Voyaging Trust.

Historically in the Pacific, waka would be sailed to different islands, they would sometimes be gifted, re-named and then sailed by the new owners. This gifting and re-naming is part of the process used back then so in line with these traditions, Va’atele was re-named.

Hoturoa had a long connection with a famous orator of Waikato Tainui, John Haunui who had in the past done all the karakia on the new waka and waka kaupapa in Tainui. He was to be the person who would do this process for Va’atele. One month before the ceremony John Haunui passed which left Hoturoa to step up and carry out the ceremonial processes. The way the process goes is that during the ceremony, the new name for the waka is asked of those in attendance. At that point in the ceremony someone called out “Haunui” which was how he now holds the name Haunui.

He has since sailed over the Pacific, to Fakarava, Marquesas,Hawai'i, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Mexico, Cocos Islands, Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, Huahine, Ra'i'atea, Borabora, Aitutaki, Rarotonga, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Australia


Ready to help?

Join Us