A prom­ise kept: ‘I just can’t do it on my own’


An un­kept prom­ise is keep­ing a Porirua man awake at night.

In 2003, John Misky promised his grand­mother he would build a Samoan ca­noe and, af­ter more than a decade, time is run­ning out for the project.

‘‘I promised her I would sail from Auck­land to Welling­ton to raise money for the Toke­lauan bi­ble trans­la­tion project,’’ he said.

‘‘When she passed away I for­got about it for a long time but now I need to do it, I have to get the mon­key off my back.

‘‘I can’t sleep at night be­cause my prom­ise keeps me awake.’’

Misky said he had made many at­tempts over the years to keep his prom­ise but the time was now right.

‘‘At the time I promised my grandma I had no idea, but now I know how to build a ca­noe - I’m ready.

‘‘I have vowed to have it ready by Novem­ber for the Strong Pa­cific Fam­i­lies pa­rade, but I can’t do it by my­self, I need the vil­lage to help.’’

His mis­sion to build a replica tra­di­tional Samoan ca­noe might not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

In 2009 he joined the Poly­ne­sian Voy­ag­ing So­ci­ety, which builds their own ca­noes, and com­pleted a mam­moth dou­ble- hull ca­noe ad­ven­ture from Auck­land to Tahiti, Hawaii, Samoa, San Fran­cisco and Mex­ico.

‘‘When you’re out in a ca­noe on the sea you are very aware of your tiny place in the world.’’

It was a much smaller, sin­gle hull ca­noe, Misky planned to build in his Porirua drive­way.

‘‘I just need some scaf­fold­ing to make a shel­ter around the base.’’

He hoped Porirua peo­ple would join in and help build the ves­sel - not just for a spare hand but be­cause of the tra­di­tional back­ground.

‘‘It was al­ways a com­mu­nity ef­fort build­ing a ca­noe. From the chil­dren who gather the co­conut husk to the men who used it to make rope.’’

‘‘I wel­come any­one who wants to come and work or talk - I have oceans of sto­ries.’’

Misky said to com­plete the project would bring clo­sure to the prom­ise he made so many years ago.

‘‘I can see her smil­ing, just like she smiled when I told her I’d do it.’’

Any­one in­ter­ested in help­ing John build the ca­noe can con­tact him on 021 044 6871.

John Misky aboard a tra­di­tional waka or ca­noe. The Porirua man plans to build his own ca­noe to pay trib­ute to his grand­mother.

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