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Tira Hoe Waka’s annual pilgrimage to the Whanganui River has been canceled
Tira Hoe Waka’s annual pilgrimage to the Whanganui River has only been canceled for the second time in over 30 years due to Covid.
Tira Hoe Waka’s executive committee chairman Hayden Potaka said the low percentage of Maori vaccinated in Whanganui district and concerns over the numbers had led them reluctantly to postpone this year’s trek on the Whanganui River.
Usually they bring 100 to 140 people up the river every summer. There are also the local people involved in the marae and settlements along the awa as well as support staff and roadies.
“We made this decision to preserve the lives of our people. “
Tira Hoe Waka is typically a 15 day event held every January with waka and kayaks plying the Whanganui River. Along the way, they visit the marae and wāhi tapu, learning the stories and history of the awa from Taumarunui to the town of Whanganui.
The Whanganui River is the third longest river in Aotearoa and in March 2017 received its own legal identity, with the rights, duties and responsibilities of a legal person.
Tira Hoe Waka has plans in place for the future of this unique enterprise which links those who whakapapa to the region with their awa and their history.
“We’re going to have to live with Covid and now with Omicron, so we’re making plans starting in February to make sure we keep our ties with our people, with our awa. “