Haunui Waka in Bluff
There was a buzz in the air as there had been all weekend and no one knew the exact time it would all come to a head, or in our case, when it would arrive at the wharf in Bluff.
Thankfully I now reside in Bluff and can now almost call myself a ship-buff but this time the cause of excitement wasn’t so much a massive container ship. And I wasn’t the only one glancing at the clock and checking to make sure my cell was on so I wouldn’t miss a text. That vital text that would let me know when to make my way to the point (Sterling Point) to watch the Waka come into Bluff Harbour. This Waka (Haunui) was something special; it had travelled great distances, and had visited many ports already. Haunui Waka also has a purpose. According to their website (www.haunuiwaka.org) that mission is one of “revitalizing waka culture and knowledge within the Pacific; protecting the environment, promoting awareness of the oceans, pollution and climate change. Haunui is part of a conversation, a korero about reviving those traditions of our Pacific ancestors.” The website further states “The Haunui is for all iwi and owned by all nations.” I knew none of this as I made my way to the wharf, foolishly thinking I may only see a handful of people there too. I say foolishly because there were buses and people everywhere to greet back to land those on the Waka and welcome the Haunui to our harbor. I decided at the last minute not to travel to Sterling Point once the text did come, but opted for one of my favourite locations, the public wharf instead and I experienced goosebumps and a lump in my throat as I listened to the songs sung straight from the heart, the powhiri. Again feeling privileged to be right there at that precise moment as we watched the Haunui come to the wharf surrounded by others all with their own reasons for feeling a sense of pride. I remembered thinking not for the first time that on occasions like this people who live in large cities must miss out on so much, some don’t even know their neighbours while others will never get to experience, to feel, moments like this. I do not have Pacific ancestors, but that didn’t stop me from feeling very connected, with a sense of belonging, with everyone there on that overcast day on the wharf in Bluff.
(more photos on Iluvinvers’ pinterest page)