Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuara are one of 17 Te Arawa tribes in this rohe (region) and our whānau has whakapapa (geneological) links to this tribe as well as Ngāti Whakaue, who inhabit the lakefront and the village of Ohinemutu. The two waka tētē we use, Wairere (flowing water at the source) and Reremoana (water at the stream mouth) are owned by Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuara and each time a waka experience departs, they receive a payment as an income source for the Iwi. When not used for providing this waka experience the iwi utilise them for paddling days and other events designed to re connect our people with our waka culture and have waka a regular part of the Rotorua lakefront again, as they were historically, when waka were our main form of transport. Of course we are a waka based Polynesian voyaging people, with Te Arawa being the name of the voyaging waka that bought our tūpuna (ancestors) to Aotearoa (New Zealand) over 800 years ago.
In addition both Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuara have long established links to this area, which you will learn more of as part of your waka experience.
Our waka tētē are a fusion of modern technology and mātauranga (traditional knowledge) with the hull design based off traditional waka but manufactured using modern fibreglass construction techniques to ensure a lightweight, sturdy hull with built in ballast and flotation chambers for robustness and safety. The carvings were completed by the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute here in Rotorua at Te Puia and are made up of the tauihu (bow piece) and taurapa (sternpiece) using designs common in Te Arawa carving. Our hoe (paddles) are kahikatea (white pine) also based off traditional designs. Our waka have not been assigned tūpuna (ancestor) names as this changes the cultural protocols over who can paddle and when they can be used. These are “working” waka intended to get more of our people, and our manuhiri, onto the water experiencing waka. These are waka for everyone to connect with and both waka have carved kaitiaki (guardians) to watch over then and those who paddle in them.