Traditional Mokihi Sails Again

This weekend heralded a significant event for the Waitaha whanau, hapu and iwi. Rangi Te Maiharoa and his son Shane built a Mokihi to the traditional design of their ancestors. The whanau and hapu trialed it at Lake Laird last weekend. There was much interest from the local community and many people had the opportunity to paddle her. All was in order for the journey down the Waitaki River this weekend.

The dawn was spectacular leaving the sky in a glowing silvery light for the launch. Sister Ann Te Maiharoa-Dodds recited a blessing and karakia for the crew and the mokihi. The reed canoe was then gently ushered into the quiet waters of the river.

There were three paddlers, Shane Te Maiharoa, his neice Katarina Te Maiharoa and Bruce Parker on the first day. The support crew consisted of one jet boat and a kayak paddled by other family members. The kayak had a difficult job keeping up with the mokihi. The second and final day saw just Shane and Katarina paddling the Mokihi escorted by three kayaks containing other family members.

There was much jubilation when they all arrived safely at their final destination. The river conditions were perfect. The weather was perfect. The ancestors were very joyful because of this epic event. A journey of remembrance. A journey honouring the knowledge of the ancestors. A journey of aspiration and inspiration for the young generations involved. Ka nui te aroha ki a koutou, he taonga tuku ihu na nga tupuna.


  • allan apiata

    May 17, 2010

    Ka pai hoki ki te kite i nga taonga o nga tipuna
    mauri ora!

  • makere

    May 17, 2010

    Tena koe Allan,
    yes it was indeed ‘tumeke’ to witness this event. And executed with much dignity and grace.
    Nga mihi mahana ki a koe

  • Suzanne

    July 1, 2010

    I have just watched a documentary called “Who was here before us” which although very good, left me more questions than answers. I loved the references to you people and the obvious love and affection you have for nature.I have read through your website and am fascinated with your history. I will be looking for books next time I go to my local library. Thank you for caring for New Zealand, and also for guarding your secrets so well all these long years. I sincerely hope you get the recognition you deserve as first settlers in this glorious land of ours.

  • Pania Aspinall

    July 2, 2010

    Tena Koe

    this is beautiful…what a wonderful gift

  • Bruce Comfort

    October 29, 2010

    I was just sad to see that The Oamaru Mail article on Monday 18th November refered to the Mokihi as being made from flax – both in the body of the story and in the caption of the photo of the man you all call uncle Rangi.

  • ross

    October 17, 2011

    Hi Guys I’m a writer researching our NZ history starting from the early period of creation. My reseach goes back 2-3000 BCE having traced where Maori come from before their arrival in Astroasia now seeking the beginning of Waitaha. My wife & I have attended the Kiakoe Waitaha School of learning without to much luck? Now trying to find your early starting point believed to be ‘Waitangi Ki Roto’ presume to be Rapa-nui or Tahiti? Questions please: (A) Can anyone tell me what time & days are the Kaikoe branch is open? (B)how do I get hold of the artist whos drawings & paintings are in the Waitaha’s two books please, Thanks.

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