Te Matau a Maui / Aotearoa

Te Matau a Maui hails from Ngāti Kahungunu and is backed by the Ngati Kahungunu iwi incorporated.


Ngāti Kahungunu has the third largest Iwi population. A large percentage of  Kahungunu people reside outside the traditional iwi boundaries, and many more reside overseas. Geographically, Ngati Kahungunu has the second largest tribal rohe in the country, extending from the Wharerata ranges in the Wairoa District to Cape Palliser in South Wairarapa. The coastal boundaries are Paritu in the North to Turakirae in the South. Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, with the mandate to represent the people of Ngāti Kahungunu, is the Governing body for all aspects of Iwi development.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated is pleased to support Te Waka ‘Te Matau A Maui’.

Our mission states the purpose of our existence which is ‘To enhance the mana and well being of Ngāti Kahungunu.’

“We believe that this is achieved by empowering whānau, hāpu and iwi to achieve success at all levels.”

Our vision statement is ‘Ki te whai ao, ki te ao marama’ - ‘The continuous pursuit of excellence’ We are always seeking opportunities for further progression. We believe that each whānau determines their own success and therefore opportunities are always at hand if the challenge is accepted.

Ngāti Kahungunu is governed by guiding principles that describes who we are as an iwi. Our principles are based on the tapestry of whakapapa that makes us who we are and our relationships with other iwi, the crown and the world. We do things shoulder to shoulder, face to face.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated has seven main iwi development statements:

1.     Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi will be participating citizens in the world. Wherever we are we celebrate Kahungunutanga.

2.     Ngāti Kahungunu will become economically strong as we embrace opportunities for economic activity.

3.     Retention of our Ngāti Kahungunu identity is paramount for our culture to survive. Through concentrated effore and celebration, Ngāti Kahungunu traditional and contemporary culture and language will survive and achieve national recognition.

4.     It is only through self determination, independence and self reliance that Ngāti Kahungunu will grow and prosper. Tino Rangatiratanga starts with self, continues through the whānau, the hapū and the iwi.

5.     We are charged to preserve and protect our environment. The health of our environment has a direct influence on the health of our Ngāti Kahungunu people.

6.     The world will know and recognize Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi, our values and our iwi rohe.

7.     Ngāti Kahungunu whānau are happy, vibrant, strong and healthy.

  • Frank Te Mihinui Kawe

    As skipper of Te Matau a Maui, Frank will be drawing on his varied experiences on the water including 15 years of outrigger canoe experience, commercial fishing in Alaska, coastal sailing in NZ and Hawaii and voyages to Micronesia and the Central Pacific. He says this project is a natural progression on from his previous canoe experiences. “Respecting and caring for the oceans and its creatures and managing and sustaining food stocks are important issues.” For Frank, the sharing and learning together with other like-minded individuals and cultures is another great part of this project. “We are all on a learning voyage.”

  • Nick Kaipara Marr

    “I’ve been sailing wakas’s for over 10 years and this voyage connects me to the ocean I belong to.” With all this experience its only natural Nick became a teacher in waka sailing programs in Hawaii and Aotearoa. He has sailed on 9 well known waka. On one long distance voyage from Hawaii to Palau they also sailed to Satawal to honour Papa Mau Piailug the legendary Master Navigator. He has been around the ocean his whole life and environmental issues are a life-long commitment for him and his whanau. “I want to preserve and perpetuate my culture and beliefs and values such as sustainability of our oceans and lands and cultures.”

  • Kaipara Marr

    Kaipz has been part of day trips, coastal trips as well as one week long trips but he really “wants to experience the ways of our ancestors…how they used to travel to get places.” He will get this experience when he leaves the forest and his job as a forestry worker and steps onto Te Matau a Maui for the long haul. His uncle Nick Marr will be on the voyage also ready to impart his skills in sailing waka. “I want to create history for the future. Its good to be able to live amongst the nature of the land and live the old ways.”

  • Reuben Raihania Tipoki

    Rai has numerous coastal sails and fishing excursions under his belt and voyaged from Tonga to Aotearoa via Fiji and from Fiji to Aotearoa. His passion for the outdoors and adventure is aligned in this initiative with his cultural and environmental kaupapa that have been an important part of his upbringing and career. On protecting the sea and sea creatures, Rai says “if we had a holistic worldview that recognizes the interconnected relationships between all things on earth, we would not have to play a ‘protector’ role.” He has long been involved in environmental initiatives and last year facilitated a program with The Enviroschools Foundation. Rai  wants to see Te Matau a Maui, on its return, “being used for education, raising awareness (both cultural and environmental) and positive protesting.”

  • Tawhana Chadwick

    Taf has had coastal sailing trips off New Zealand of 2 to 7 days long and hours of ocean paddling. His background as a tutor in Maori language and psychology reflects his belief in educating ourselves. He hopes we will do so “to a point where we can respect all, including the consequences of our actions, from the interconnectedness that we share with what is.” He is involved with the enviro group Natives for Climate Justice. “The idea that the seas and their life need ‘protection’ removes the mana of this area and places it on our own shoulders as a burden. To me this ‘protection’ should change to a pedagogy of respect”. Taf loves the way the waka introduces environmental issues and facilitates cultural regeneration with Pacific peoples. He says it provides a framework in which participants can view life. “Treating everywhere we go like the waka is the main message. Complete trust and co-operation with fellow beings, minimal waste/consumption. These are awesome messages!”

  • Robert Nathan Reid

    With 13 years in the fishing industry and 3 years experience as a commercial deep sea fisherman Nathan knows what its like out on the rough seas and, liking a challenge, he will now try it the traditional way in this “once in a lifetime opportunity.” As a fisherman “one of the core mantras that we operate under is one of Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) for our oceans and ocean species. As a guardian of the ocean, I am responsible for making sure that there is at least a better resource for my children and children’s children. All sea creatures should be managed, harvested and protected. Whales and dolphins need to be managed not in isolation but together with all marine species. We live in an ecosystem where everything is connected.” He also likes the mantra ‘Love, learn, and enjoy everyday of my life.’

  • Charlene Te-Mauri Ropiha

    Te Matau a Maui has been Charlene’s main sailing experience and she is looking forward to building awareness for the project and reconnecting with our Pacific Island people. She was brought up next to Tangaroa. “I know who I am and where I come from. I believe that’s most important.” Her skills in Maori Tikanga (customs) and Kawa (protocol) will be beneficial to the haerenga (journey). Charlene wants to help ensure “that the resources Tangaroa (god of the sea) has provided us with all this time will still be available for our tamariki (children) and mokopuna (grandchildren) in the future.”

  • Rangitane Taurima

    Rangi, a glass technician, has already sailed up to Tahiti, Rarotonga, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and back to New Zealand in 2010 on Te Matau A Maui. Celestial navigation is one of the skills he hopes to learn from this voyage as well as learning about other Pacific cultures. “As whales are my hapu’s (subtribe) kaitiaki (guardian/protector) it is paramount that we protect them as they protect us.” He hopes that he can make a difference by improving the state of the ocean and re-educating people about the possibilities of harnessing the wind and solar power instead of using non-renewable fuels to sail.  ”My dream is that one day my daughter will be able to sail on the ocean while observing all creatures that need the ocean as their life force.”

  • Tumarangai Sciascia

    Tu is the Maori Arts Advisor for Creative NZ but as part of the crew of Te Matau a Maui, his desire to learn the ancient art and ways of traditional sailing and navigation is being achieved. Tu is ready for the challenge onboard and his culturally rich upbringing in the small fishing community of Porangahau, Hawkes Bay has given him the skills and experience to pass on to his fellow crew waiata (song) and haka (traditional dance) to represent themselves on land. Tu says that appreciation of one another improves communities and that the Maori arts is a special and unique way of communicating our culture to others, so they can understand, respect and appreciate things Maori. For Tu, everything is holistic. “I love the idea of raising awareness around the protection and use of our oceans. Our culture and our ocean are so interwoven (on so many different levels) that without it – our culture and its existence is in great peril.”

  • Pererika Makiha

    As Harbourmaster of Rotorua Lakes Pererika has spent a lot of time on the water. He has also crewed on Te Matau o Maui from Fiji to Aotearoa, Tahiti to Rarotonga and been Watch Captain of Marumaru Atua and Aotearoa One from 2004-2007. These experiences have developed into a passion for sailing using traditional navigational means, as his ancestors before him. Pererika is also passionate about environmental issues and will be developing an educational package highlighting the damage created by oil spills, rising water levels and ocean noise pollution that will be presented to around 200 Enviro schools. “We are only temporary guardians of the land, air, oceans and all that dwell within. Therefore it is imperative we care for and protect those treasures.” The ongoing legacy the voyage provides “is one of enduring values, both environmental and ancestral.”

  • Hohepa Isaac-Sharland

    Hohepa is a deputy principal with 18 years experience relating to children and their families. He loves the lifestyle associated with waka as well as the history and learning gained from voyaging. He has been a crewmember of Aotearoa 1 since 2007 and believes that Tangaroa (god of the sea) and his offspring are a crucial part of our world that needs to be treasured and cared for, or our own existence is threatened. “My hope is that my children, my grandchildren and their grand children will be humble and strong guardians for our entire planet, beginning with Aotearoa and the Pacific.”

  • Hannah Rainforth

    Hana has never been out of sight of land before but this voyage has called her on many different levels from an interest in sailing and stars, to deeply supporting the kaupapa (issue) of caring for our oceans, to being increasingly uncomfortable with flying for the sake of leisure due to the carbon footprint. Hana is a Biodiversity Ranger for the Department of Conservation and was involved in a whale stranding as part of her job – an emotional experience. She is passionate about protecting wildlife (both terrestrial and aquatic). “Like the land environment, the ocean needs us to alter our behavior so that it can thrive again. We need to change the very use of plastic, and alter its prevalence in our lives. I want to keep working to protect the world’s biota and help people be inspired to change their behavior.”

  • Kotuku Tomoana

    Having no previous sailing experience before this didn’t faze Kotuku.“I have had an affinity to the sea since I was a child.” His extended family of Ngati Hawea have history with a whale and one of their well known ancestors and deities was a dolphin, so for Kotuku it is only natural we should protect them. As a local history/Maori language teacher he has stories pass on. His vision is “to use my prior, current, and future experiences of the Maori and wider world, to promote and develop our affinity with the Sky father and the Earth mother along with their children including Tangaroa (god of the sea).”

  • Sean Ngahina Marsh

    Seans love of the ocean was passed on from his father – a keen sailor and surfer. Sean has been sailing since 1982, raced waka ama to national level and is a longboard surfer himself. “As Te Iwi Maori, we are all descendants of master mariners” and he is on the voyage to connect with the courage, skill and knowledge of the ocean of his Tipuna (ancestors). “I will be the first person of my hapu (subtribe) to relearn these traditions and skills for many generations.” He intends to share these with his whanau when he returns. Sean is marketing manager for Tourism Bay of Plenty and father to his beautiful daughter Parihaka. “I hope she gets to experience the gifts of whanaungatanga and the natural world that I have enjoyed.” Sean also hopes the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup 2011.

  • Howie Karaitiana James

    Howies ties to the sea go way back through diving, surfing, fishing or collecting kaimoana (seafood). “My thoughts have always been sustainable utilization for generations to come. This personal ethic eventually led me to being skipper with the Ministry of Fisheries where I was able to enforce regulations designed to protect/manage the use of Tangaroa’s bounty.” He has also been National Co-ordinator for non-commercial fishing. ‘The fate of many can rely on the actions of few’…”I believe this is what we the voyagers are about, passing the message of the harm the ocean has been subject to and how we can reduce, if not stop, any further damage.” Howie’s aim is to pass the message “in a way that our Tipuna (ancestors) would be proud.”

  • Rob Hohepa Hewitt

    After 20 years with the NZ Navy Rob is going back to basics and has been part of Te Matau a Maui crew since 2009. Onboard he opens himself to gain personal growth – spiritually, mentally and physically, and represent his whanau/hapu/iwi on this very important voyage. He wishes “to be a spokesperson for the Tangaroa as Tangaroa has supported me in the past.” He is an ambassador for Water Safety NZ and belongs to Te Tai Timu Trust which teaches children water awareness and environmental aspects about the ocean. Rob believes the time to act is now as the Tangaroa (the sea) and earth (earthquakes) are speaking to us.

  • Whare Isaac-Sharland

    Whare has skills and experience as a school teacher, researcher, assistant bank manager and project administrator. These organizational skills complement her deep knowledge of te reo Maori and experience as a kaikaranga (caller) for her hapu and whanau. With sailing certificates and time spent as crew on Aotearoa One, she “feels this type of journey further encourages whakawhanaungatanga (the process of establishing relationships) amongst Polynesian and other cultures. My dream is that my mokupuna (grand children) can witness the positive things that I have witnessed in my lifetime and that Papatuanuku (earth) is still providing them with plentiful nourishment a-wairua, a-tinana, a hinengaro (spiritually, physically and mentally). I also hope that within my lifetime I witness positive change occurring throughout all humanity towards the plight of Papatuanuku and her uri (descendants).”

  • Piripi Smith

    Piripi is of Tainui, Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Porou descent. He is married to Mich Hollis and currently has one son Tainga Te Rei. Piripi has been crew on Te Aurere waka hourua since 2006. He wants to add to that knowledge by further learning the sailing and navigation skills that our tupuna used as well as supporting the kaupapa of living sustainably. Piripi is an IT technical consultant and former IT systems engineer. He is totally against the slaughter of Whales and Dolphin, and thinks countries such as Japan and Norway should not be allowed to kill on mass in international waters. “They should look to farming various other species of fish in their own waters. Also harsher laws need to be put in place by various governments to bring down carbon gases.” Piripi’s life goal is looking forward to enjoying the 3 R’s – Relaxation, Retirement and Reproducing.

  • Simon Ngawhika

    Simon has spent the last year and a half gaining sailing experience when he wasn’t working as a stakeholder engagement advisor. He practices mau rakau, a form of Maori martial arts, and wants to learn and be a vessel of knowledge for future generations. He says that the planet’s ecological health can be pinned to bees and algae. “My long term goal is to lead an organization that works to ensure people live the most fulfilling lives that can possibly be lived within the planet’s capacities. There are three issues that I am particularly interested in: bringing business back into the service of the community; making sustainability a pre-competitive issue for commercial ventures; and developing tools to address the economics of food distribution. As Maori there is a lot of our own knowledge that we can draw from. Cultural diversity, tolerance and the sharing of ideas are integral parts of this vision. My indigenous culture and bi-cultural heritage are fundamental to both a sense of duty to leave a positive legacy for the future, and a sense of excitement about just how bright that future can be.”

  • Liam Ogden

    Liam Ogden was lucky enough to sail to Norfolk Island with traditional navigator Jack Thatcher on Te Aurere. He joined Te Matau a Maui on the first journey from Fiji to NZ and has sailed on “Tavaru 2010.” He is looking forward to reviving and maintaining his cultural heritage and passing on the knowledge of waka hourua to his son and grandchildren. “I’m enjoying learning about the environment and ocean, as I come from the generation that were ignorant to a lot of issues which now affect us all.”

  • Mahara Nicholas

    Mahara is a teacher back home, and has also worked as a graphic designer and music tutor. He has been a crew member on Te Aurere for about 10 years now and loves being out on the ocean, in all the elements of our Tupuna. Mahara says that sea creatures are our tuakana (cousins) so its only right we protect them; a view reflected in his involvement with environmental NGO’s. His skills on the guitar will be much appreciated on the voyage.

  • Moni Soutar

    Moni comes from the coastal city Tauranga, so he has had the opportunity to go on numerous small sails over the years. He is sure that absence will make the heart grow stronger and that time away will lead to greater appreciation of his home and family. Problems like climate change and noise pollution won’t be solved by any ‘one-man’ intitiative he says and he is prepared to do as much as he can to help.

  • Rangiwhiua Hewitt

    Rangiwhua is a sergeant in the Royal NZ Army specializing in logistics. “When my husband (Rob) was offered the position of Training Manager for the project, I knew that this was an opportunity to say thank you to Tangaroa for sparing his life. To be able to give back and support the ocean and the environment (Papatuanuku) has been the emphasis in supporting such a auspicious kaupapa (project). It’s been a great journey with the project sharing knowledge, culture and especially waiata from our Pacific Brothers and Sisters.” Rangiwhua believes that people who are in a position to make a significant change don’t want to compromise their way of living.

  • Madelin Sylvie Watson

    Madelin has spent 5 seasons interning on a permaculture farm and has learnt to grow delicious organic kai (food), while learning about the relationship between kai and self-determination. She is currently finishing study to become an educator for Natural Fertility NZ. Her interest in sailing stemmed from 3 years paddling with her waka ama club. Madelin describes herself as a 7th generation pacific pakeha that feels privileged to call Aotearoa home. She says she’s “been raised to recognize and respect Maori as tangata whenua,” learning tikanga Maori through bilingual education, and connecting this with the stories and practices of her own indigenous ancestors. She is looking forward to deepening her relationship with the elements and creatures of the sea. With an interest in dance and experience in live performances to renew public awareness about the ocean, she will be a valued member of the crew.

  • Tiaki Latham-Coates

    Tiaki has lived and worked on an organic farm, worked as a mentor for young people suffering drug and alcohol dependency and most recently as an Aoraki Bound Instructor. His sailing experience has included voyaging on vaka and sailing the American coast in a small 26ft sloop. Tiaki says this voyage will move things from the intellectual understanding of the feats of our ancestors to the knowing of them. “When we’re out there, we are at the mercy of the atua, our world is Ocean, Sky, Wind, Sun, Stars and moon. Our Tupuna revered these elements, they were their gods and when we are out there, we remember the simplicity and magnitude of this, and we remember where we have come from, and who we really are.” Tiaki says that if we see someone on the other side of the waka doing something to destroy the hull, we can’t pretend it wont affect us. “If we play ignorant, or succumb to apathy we are in grave danger of our waka sinking.” He likens this to becoming involved in the problems the Pacific faces.


  • Jenny Mauger

    A registered comprehensive nurse, Jenny is now in resource management. She has been sailing since 1987, sailing in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea. Jenny wants to be part of the project “to celebrate the micro and macro of all living entities, including ourselves, planet earth and the universe – all that exists.” Jenny has worked on a number of environmental organisations and holds the view that “by nurturing existing knowledge and developing a deeper, broader understanding of natural phenomena, we occupants of planet earth can safely urge our children to be all they are and can be, in a local, regional, national and global future.”

  • Steve Bethell

    Steve has had 20 years experience with the Royal NZ Navy and is now a full time student and security guard. After all this ocean going experience Steve is now welcoming in a slower pace on waka hourua. He says “it’s a historical event, not only is it a rebirth of traditional waka ocean going voyaging, but also a stand against world wide pollution.” Steve points out that whales are guardians for Maori “and even guardians need protection.” He believes that we are responsible for the care and protection of all sea life and that the protocol for the ocean must be one of sustainability. “We must lead by example in a responsible manner that will appeal to the rangatahi (youth) and the children of the future.” For Steve, he really wants his children, their children and their children’s children to be able to go down to the beach and gather seafood in the same way as their forefathers.