Waka gets $93,000 launch­ing ramp


‘‘We're one of the cities that cel­e­brate Wai­tangi Day re­ally, re­ally well. ’’

A 37-per­son waka tan­gata will be launched down a new $93,000 ramp at Porirua Har­bour on Wai­tangi Day.

The city coun­cil be­gan re­build­ing the ramp, off Wi Neera Dr at Takapu¯wa¯hia, in De­cem­ber and it will be fin­ished early next year.

In the mean­time, Nga¯ti Toa’s large 37-per­son waka is be­ing re­stored so it will be ready for launch­ing for the first time in years. It is ex­pected to be one of dozens out on the wa­ter on Fe­bru­ary 6.

Ora Toa Mau­ri­ora man­ager and Toa Waka Ama Club mem­ber Trini Ropata said the new ramp will be safer and eas­ier for ev­ery­one.

Ora Toa Mau­ri­ora runs Waitech, which is the waka ama in schools pro­gramme.

‘‘It will be so good once it’s done,’’ Ropata said. ‘‘ We can’t wait. It’s going to be great and I see a lot more peo­ple us­ing it.’’

Along with Wai­tangi Day cel­e­bra­tions, the pub­lic will be able to use the ramp, which launches di­rectly north at a gen­tle gra­di­ent.

The ramp re­build­ing project is a part­ner­ship be­tween the Takapu¯wa¯hia com­mu­nity and the coun­cil.

Porirua was home to the coun­try’s big­gest Wai­tangi Day cel­e­bra­tion out­side of Wai­tangi, the Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments, but this ended in 2017 as the 30,000-strong crowd grew too big for the vol­un­teers run­ning it at Te Rau­paraha Park.

Mayor Mike Tana said in 2018 the fes­ti­val will have a new fo­cus and will be lo­cated around TeAwarua-o-Porirua Har­bour.

‘‘We’re launch­ing a new event, which will fo­cus on the Treaty of Wai­tangi and our har­bour,’’ Tana said.

‘‘We’re going back to the essence of what Wai­tangi Day is all about and cel­e­brat­ing what makes us unique as a coun­try and as a re­gion.’’

Nga¯ti Toa Ran­gatira kau­matua Taku Parai said it would be a cel­e­bra­tion ‘‘of what our an­ces­tors signed in 1840’’.

‘‘We’re one of the cities that cel­e­brate Wai­tangi Day re­ally, re­ally well. Our peo­ple will get in be­hind it and sup­port it, big time – whether it’s story telling, art, weav­ing, kapa haka, mu­sic and song or waka.’’

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