20 Jan 2014

Whanganui River pilgrimage

8:23 am on 20 January 2014

More than 100 descendants of Te Atihaunui a Paparangi have spent two weeks canoeing the Whanganui River to learn about local tikanga and history.

Whanganui River from near Pungarehu.

Whanganui River from near Pungarehu. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The annual pilgrimage, Te Tira Hoe Waka, began in Taumarunui on 5 January, and ended in Whanganui at the weekend.

About 130 people canoed the awa (river) and 100 more followed the trip by car, spending the nights at various marae.

Iwi spokesperson Gerrard Albert says the wananga began in 1989 as a way to connect descendants with their river and marae.

He says it is an important period of preparation physically and spiritually for the challenges that the year brings.

Mr Albert says it is also about the continuation and inter-generational transfer of knowledge, which helps the young people understand who they are.

Whanganui River pilgrimage attracts hundreds