Jeff Evans

A writer's life, struggling on the coalface

Tag: Hokule’a

Hawaiki Rising

Hawaiiki Rising

I’ve just received an autographed copy of Sam Low’s beautifully written book Hawaiki Rising and I’m super happy about it. I’ve known Sam for a few years, but due to us living on opposite sides of the Pacific (he lives in the States, I’m in New Zealand), I seldom get to see him – so it was a real pleasure to catch up with him when the Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hokule’a was welcomed into Waitangi last weekend.

Sam has been involved with the Polynesian Voyaging Society since the early 1980s and has voyaged on Hokule’a several times. It’s that level of experience which has given Sam a great insight into voyaging, and allowed him access to many of the figures that were instrumental in the renaissance of Hawaiian voyaging. The result of Sam’s endeavour is a wonderful book that is quite literally a page turner. For anyone looking to write the history of an organisation or perhaps the revival of an art, I suggest you read this book to see how it should be written. I can’t recommend this book enough.

War canoes and 75-year old newspapers

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I’ve just spent an enjoyable few days in the far north of New Zealand photographing the giant Maori war canoe Nga Tokimatawhaorua. The 120-foot canoe, shown above, was completed in 1940 and carries 80 paddlers, and she is a fearsome sight to see close up in action. I was fortunate to be invited as it is quite rare to see her on the water these days; she is usually only launched for the commemorations of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in February of each year.

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My trip north had a second equally important purpose though (at least for me), and that was to spend some time searching back issues of the Northern News at the newspaper’s main office in Kaikohe. I was there to find any references to Nga Tokimatawhaorua’s construction and launch, and there were plenty to be found in the bound and yellowing pages dating from the late 1930s.

As a side note, I must say that it was actually quite a calming experience to spend the day sifting through 75-year old newspapers; a task I prefer to scrolling through endless digital resources.