28 Jul 2012

Student exchanges could result from waka expedition

8:30 pm on 28 July 2012

The organiser of one of the most epic Maori canoe journeys across the Pacific says the Waka Tapu expedition to Easter Island will create student exchanges with the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.

Two waka hourua (double-hulled canoes) will carry a crew of 24 kaihoe (paddlers) from Auckland next month bound for Rapanui or Easter Island - using only the stars, moon, sun, ocean currents, birds and marine life to guide them.

Waka Tapu organiser and institute director Karl Johnstone says discussions are already under way to help support Rapanui students study in the institute's wananga, including the National Wood Carving School.

He says Rapanui people are very eager for those types of exchanges to develop, and an invitation has been sent for them to participate in relevant workshops in New Zealand.

Mr Johnstone says it isn't about teaching them about Maori carving, but to provide a framework to teach and re-establish elements of Rapanui carving - whether it be in stone or wood.

He says one of the first collaborative projects will be building a waka hourua.