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March 26, 2018 | by  | in Ngāi Tauira Opinion |
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NT: Te Ara Tauira

Connection.

Connection is a sense of  belonging. Connection is uniting as one. Connection is our history. Throughout the Pacific there is an unseen connection that ties us all together. It’s like a single strand of thread, weaved into one to make a beautiful mat. Like a single drop of water brought together to create a great ocean. Like a single speck of sand, lying on a sandy beach.

The Pacific Ocean is the biggest body of sea in the entire world. In my small journey through the realm of waka hourua I have learned that we all come from one ocean, which means we are all one people. The Pacific is the bridge that brings us as Pacific Islanders together. It is a long line of whakapapa, or geneology, that is brought together under tangaroa.

My longest trip in the open water was 21 days at sea. We were on our way back from the Cook Islands, on the same path our tīpuna had once travelled on their main journey to Aotearoa. I was 16 at the time and still had so much to learn about the kaupapa and the history of the great migration. Although I was young, I could feel in the air a sense of pride, of belonging and responsibility. We were on a similar vessel to what our tīpuna would have once used to travel the high seas. We were using traditional knowledge passed down from our tīpuna to travel from place to place and we were on the same Pacific highway that was frequently used many years ago. The fresh sea breeze, the cleanliness of the air, the sound of the water hugging the side of the waka is a feeling that cannot be described.

A waka hourua is a vessel of influence and of connection. It is a vessel of pride, a vessel of knowledge, and of our past. It is a gift from our ancestors and a way of connecting. Waka hourua unites us as one. Eo Te Moana Nui a Kiwa.

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