How it started
Political decisions often have farreaching effects.
When American president George Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2004, it set off a tailspin of events for the Roake family that indirectly led to Quentin’s waka project. At the time, Quentin was living in the UK with his wife, Frankie, and their three children. He had just finished restoring their 1480 Tudor manor and the plan was to sell it and, with the proceeds, move back to New Zealand. Quentin’s dream was to buy a coastal property and build a 48foot (15m) ketch with his brother. The manor went on the market the day that American troops went into Iraq. Simultaneously the value of the house, along with their savings in Euros, plummeted and the value of a Kiwi ‘safe haven’ went up. “We lost almost everything,” he says. The ketch plan was abandoned. There was just enough money to build a strip-plank Canadian canoe in the garage. But a visit to Okains Bay Ma¯ori and Colonial Museum on Banks Peninsula six weeks after returning to New Zealand led Quentin to rethink his plans. Inspired by the waka on display, he says that he thought, “Why would I build a North American–type canoe when these have evolved here?”