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Starlight navigators embark on voyage from Tahiti to NZ, honouring ancestors

A double-hulled waka is set to voyage from Tahiti and is headed for Aotearoa in honour of master carver and navigator Sir Hekenukumai Busby, famously known for reconstructing an early part of Aotearoa history.

The Tahitian vessel, Fa'afaite, is part of the flotilla in the Tuia 250 Voyage, an event that commemorates 250 years since the first onshore encounters between Māori and Pākehā.

Sir Hekenukumai of Te Rarawa and Ngāti Kahu was well known for having sailed around New Zealand and other Pacific islands, using the navigation of the stars as his ancestors did. He became the first New Zealand Māori to be appointed a Polynesian master navigator.

Earlier this year 'Hek' was knighted at Waitangi but later passed away in May.

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His tangi was held today in Northland.

The navigators on board the Fa'afaite are said to also be using the natural environment as their navigation.

"It's very important for us to meet our brothers in Aotearoa," Tahiti Voyaging Society president Maui Neri said.

"It's very special because it's the first time our navigators are doing it themselves.

"We are happy to have the help of the Māori navigators."

The voyage is also in honour and celebration of Tupaia, a Tahitian master navigator who was on board the Endeavour upon its arrival in Aotearoa in 1769.

Fa'afaite will make its way to Rarotonga, Rangitahua/The Kermadec Islands, and then finally to Tauranga Moana, New Zealand in mid-September.

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The double hulled canoe is set to play a role in marking the 250th anniversary of the first encounters between Māori and Pākehā. Source: 1 NEWS