Director & Co-Creator
Maria Deere NZ Arts Festival with Shelagh Magadza
Hoturoa, Kasia and myself as the creators of this project wrote a manifesto which became the backbone for the many iwi, government and community partnerships this project needed.
Manifesto: For the last thousand years courageous pathfinders have navigated the vast Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa. Their imaginative act to go beyond what was known, made possible by 3000 years of waka technology and wayfinding brilliance. Wakacarry stories, art, science, knowledge whakapapa and performance. When the waka arrives it seeks relationships, contact and togetherness. This beautiful act encapsulates the nature of New Zealand and Pacific leadership. In 2017 we are facing a human crisis. Countries are building walls, boundaries and armies to keep people out in the name of safety – physical and economic. These thresholds between nations are often places of violence and fear. In the Pacific our threshold is the mighty ocean. The pre-colonised Pacific viewpoint of the ocean is that of something that connects us all as humans. The waka hourua and their crew give voice to this. As they sail they weave together cultures and histories. And in a contemporary world the waka inspire us not to search for new land but to search for new ways forward as human beings. The Waka are emblematic of who we are as a nation. Their function is to connect New Zealanders to our identity as voyagers. The Waka Awaken Project therefore wishes to make it possible for all New Zealanders to make a connection with the waka. As that bond forms, differences such as age, race and background dissolve. What emerges is a shared vision of how wonderful we are and how much we have to contribute to each other and the rest of the world.