According to Māori legend Aotearoa was found by the explorer Kupe, chasing an octopus from Ra'iatea, Tahiti. This documentary follows Northland building contractor Hekenukumai 'Hector' Busby, as he leads the construction of a waka hourua (double-hulled canoe), then retraces Kupe's course across the Pacific, back to Rarotonga. Busby first heads to Tahiti to learn navigation methods used by Polynesia's great ocean voyagers, then returns home to fell a kauri and begin building Te Aurere. Busby would go on to build at least another 20 waka; he passed away in May 2019.
Forget the idea that sailing’s fun — it’s not, not what you guys are going to be doing. For me — when I go to sea, and I’ve done it so many times — it’s the compelling challenge and the adventure of it all ... trying to find islands 1000s of miles away with no instruments. You get this strong sense of understanding your heritage and this tremendous pride and respect for your ancestors, because in a lot of ways you’re dealing with the exact same elements that they did.– Hawaiian Naenoa Thompson, director of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, to Te Aorere’s prospective crew
Made with funding from NZ On Air