Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa (warm greetings to everyone), my name is Mikaere and I’ve had the privilege of paddling and working with Ki Te Hoe for the past few weeks. There’s something special about being on the water with your family, and I’m fortunate to have my dad captaining the waka, my sister steering and my mum holding down the fort on shore. It’s been amazing to get out onto the lake and share our culture with visitors from all walks of life, who all seem so interested in who we are and the stories we have to tell.
For the past five months, I’ve been overseas in Texas studying on exchange; I had the time of my life but coming home and being able to work with the waka has made me appreciate just how lucky we are here in Rotorua. There’s nothing better than the feeling of paddling in fresh water with the sun blazing, especially when you’ve got my father’s witty banter to keep you entertained on the ride. While photos and stories are always fun to share with others, there’s some kind of feeling you can’t describe when you’re out on the lake; it’s a sense of tranquillity, and really understanding the connection between paddle and water. That’s something I truly love about this business, and I count my blessings to be able to share that with our customers.