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  • Writer's pictureJared Hao

'OHANA WA'A Celebrates the Dedication of Kupe Waka Centre

Updated: May 4, 2023

December 2022 · Aurere, Aotearoa

Photo credit: Myrna and Snake AhHee, Kaui Fu, Chadd Paishon, and Dennis Chun.

Over the last twenty years, Sir Hekenukumai Ngaiwi Puhipi and his family, along with the voyaging whanau, and Tai Tokerau ʻiwi envisioned a centre of wisdom that would amplify the education, training, and awareness of Kaupapa Waka. After a few years of multiple visioning sessions, the Kupe Waka Centre was born and is nearing its completion after two years of dedicated time and labor towards this dream. On December 10, 2022, in Aurere, Aotearoa, The Kupe Waka Centre that was led by Sir Hekenukumai Ngaiwi Puhipi, was dedicated as a national school of traditional Polynesian wayfinding at the site of the revival, in waka building, ocean voyaging, and traditional navigation. ʻOhana Waʻa as well as voyagers from across the Pacific including Hawaiʻi, Aotearoa, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Micronesia, and many more were present for this auspicious occasion.

Also while there, Kalā, daughter of the late master navigator Kālepa Baybayan, released her father's ashes into the ocean at Aurere Beach surrounded by members of 'Ohana Wa'a Hawaii, Aotearoa, and Rarotonga. She reflected on this moment by saying, "I know that's where he wanted to be. His shell here on Earth was too small to contain his big spirit and so there he went, back to a place that brought him joy and connected all of us together."

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