A Waka Odyssey

Inside Waka Ama Practice

17 February 2018

We went along to a Te Raukura – Te Wharewaka o Pōneke waka ama rehearsal to see the preparation that will go into their role in A Waka Odyssey

Sign up for updates

For the past six months, Te Raukura – Te Wharewaka o Pōneke have been rehearsing in preparation for Kupe: Festival Opening Night at 7pm on Friday 23 February.

Three waka ama from Te Raukura will be on the water at dusk as part of A Waka Odyssey. We went along to one of their Sunday rehearsals to see the preparation that will go into their role in A Waka Odyssey. They’re 40 people in a cast that will number over 1000 on the night. 

Matt Ammunson-Fyall, one of the waka ama paddlers, knows that Te Raukura’s part in the show is important for recognising our connection to the ocean. 

“We've not seen something of this proportion on Wellington Harbour, and I know  Taranaki Whānui and Te Ātiawa iwi are really excited to see this number of waka back on our harbour. It's a tradition that is coming back to Wellington.”

He waka eke noa – we are all on board the same canoe.


Each day, starting  1 February 2018, we will share new videos and stories online so you too can join the journey in the lead up to the start of A Waka Odyssey, 23 February – 4 March 2018. Be part of the story via our website festival.co.nz/waka, on the New Zealand Festival's Facebook and Instagram pages, or using the hashtags #NZFestival and #NZWaka. 


Join in A Waka Odyssey celebrations at the spectacular theatrical extravaganza KupeFestival opening night set on Wellington's waterfront; the Kupe Landing: Petone Family Day – a fun beach party for all the whānau; and the Kupe Dreaming series of waka-themed community events and activities. 

Related articles