Auckland's in for an oarsome weekend

9:39 am on 29 January 2016

Auckland's first ever waka festival will take place on the city's waterfront this weekend.

Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival

The Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival is on this weekend. Photo: Auckland Transport

At least 14 waka are expected at the Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival, which organisers said was a way to showcase the 19 iwi of the Auckland region and their culture. Festival goers will be able to paddle or sail one of the many traditional Māori waka.

Festival Mana Whenua Steering Group chair Hauauru Rawiri said the event had brought all the Auckland iwi together.

"We have 100 percent support from iwi mana whenua of Tāmaki Makaurau which is unprecedented, we are mindful about the treaty settlements that are presently happening in Auckland and this particular kaupapa elevates something on which we can work together."

Mr Rawiri said sometimes they had to focus on the kaupapa, instead of each other.

The festival will include the Ngāti Paoa war canoe Te Kotūiti Tuarua, two double hulled waka hourua and waka races.

Mr Rawiri said the festival had historical significance, as 160 years ago there were inter-tribal waka races held on the Waitemata Harbour.

"This year is an opportunity to follow in their footsteps and have the bragging rights about winning the inaugural waka race."

Grant Kitchen

Grant Kitchen Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Some of the best contemporary Māori cuisine based on traditional ingredients and methods will be on offer.

Te Kai Māori Head Chef Grant Kitchen will be cooking a hangi in an oven which he hopes will provide inspiration.

"This can be done at home and they can mimic and innovate themselves and I'll give them ideas on how to utilise this cooking technique.

The festival will also give people the chance see leading Māori artists and practitioners in action.