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No. 41 (December 1962)
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Off to Hawaiki?

We took this photograph of Mr Mark Metekingi when he came into Te Ao Hou's office recently to talk about the canoe voyage which he hopes to make back in the direction of Hawaiki, the Homeland of the Maori.

We mention this fact because a background of filing cabinets and office paraphernalia isn't really a very suitable one for a man with such very outdoor ambitions.

Department (to find out the regulations concerning Mr Metekingi had just been to see the Marine small craft on ocean voyages), the Forestry Department (to enquire about trees for the canoe), the National Publicity Department, and several other Government Departments. He said he was very encouraged by the interest his idea was causing, and that if finance (an estimated p5,000) can be obtained, and if the project receives the support of the Maori People, he is convinced that such a voyage would be practical and worthwhile.

Double-Hulled Canoe

The canoe is to be a double-hulled one, as were the canoes which originally came to New Zealand. There are still some people, he said, who have the knowledge to make canoes, and who know the correct karakia to recite in connection with this.

No-one knows exactly where Hawaiki is, but the immediate setting-off place is generally agreed to be Tahiti, and before this, perhaps, Hawaii. Hawaii has a special interest for Mr Metekingi because of the Polynesian Village which the Mormon Church is building there at present. He is a member of the Mormon faith, and would very much like to there for the opening of this Village next September.

Spirit of Adventure

Now he is looking for thirty men, Maoris for preference, who possess the necessary spirit of adventure for an expedition of this kind—‘I'm not interested in anyone who says it can't be done. The men I want must have a positive outlook and be prepared for some degree of hardship with cheerfulness and optimism.’ The vessel will have to carry radio, lifeboats, lifebelts and rafts, but apart from this he plans to make the conditions as traditional as possible. The main diet for all will be taro and kumera, and a quantity of dried fish and karaka berries will also be included.

‘As far as I'm concerned at the moment there will be nothing cooked on the voyage. Everything will be either dried or preserved and for the entire trip members of the expedition will be living on a spartan diet.’

Training would be required and much of it would have to be done in their own time. Self-discipline would be a basic requirement, because the early Maori voyagers were able to travel for long distances without water.

One other difficulty will be that the ocean winds are not nearly as favourable for a voyage from New Zealand to the Central Pacific, as they are for canoes coming in the other direction.

Mr Metekingi gives his reasons for the voyage as being sentimental, historical and scientific, and hopes to be able to make a start in a few months.

Sometimes it is pretty puzzling to find your way round a library. There are so many different sections for different sorts of books, that it is easy to miss books you would find interesting.

The Upper Hutt branch of the M.W.W.L. recently held a most successful ‘Library Night’ in their local library. The librarian, Mr I. W. Malcolm, showed them in an informal way how to join the library, how to take out books and how to find the books they wanted. He emphasized that librarians are very glad to help people find their way around.

Members of the League found the evening a most interesting one, and were impressed by the number of books on practical subjects, and also with the number of books on Maori subjects.

This ‘Library Night’ was so successful that a number of other branches of the League are thinking of following the example of the Upper Hutt group.

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As well as Sir Turi Carroll (whom we had an article on in our last issue), a number of other Maoris received honours in the Queen's Birthday Honours this year.

Mr Hone Heke Rankin of Kaikohe was awarded the O.B.E. Mr Rankin is a descendant of the famous Hone Heke who three times cut down the flagstaff at Russell, and a nephew of the Hone Heke who was the first Northern Maori, M.P.

Mr Rankin has worked hard over a long period for Maori interests, taking an active part in many enterprises and organisations.

Mr Mete Kingi Takarangi, a highly respected elder of Putiki, Wanganui, has been awarded the M.B.E.; so has Mr D. M. Perry of Opotiki, a Pakeha who is very well known indeed in Maori circles, and who has done much to assist Maori organisations.

Major B. M. Poananga, of the New Zealand Regiment (Regular Force), who lives at Porirua East, was awarded the M.B.E. (Military Division), and Corporal Lewis Tuka Williams of the New Zealand Regiment (Regular Force), who is serving in Malaya, was awarded the B.E.M. (British Empire Medal). Flight-Lieutenant Te Waaka Hemi Morete, of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Whenuapai, received a Commendation ‘for valuable services in the air’.

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This is the second and last instalment of Mohi Turei's history of the famous Ngati Porou ancestor Tuwhakairiora. A slightly modified translation of this story appeared in the last June issue of Te Ao Hou.