Ngāi Tahu – Ngāi Tūāhuriri
What constitutes a good day?
Sunshine, the ocean, good people.
One thing you could not live without?
My pet cats, Tama, Hini and Kiti and my waka.
Who or what inspires you and why?
Hekenukumai Busby, Jack Thatcher and Stanley Conrad because they have shared their dreams and skills with younger generations.
Highlight in the last year and why?
An amazing experience in Rapanui and a beautiful voyage from Rapanui to Tahiti.
What is your greatest extravagance?
A Tahitian pearl.
Favourite way to chill out? Favourite place?
On the ocean on a waka.
Dance or wallflower?
What food could you not live without?
What meal do you cook the most?
Fish and salad.
Sailing from Rapanui to Tahiti.
Tell us about an aspiration you have for Ngāi Tahu to achieve by 2025?
To have our own waka hourua and sail between Kaikōura and Tītī Islands exchanging kai between hapū.
I’m a descendant of Rawiri Te Marie. My poppa’s name is Peter Bates and mum is Ra Bates. Mum lives in Rangiora with my nan, Mina Bates. After the quake, mum moved back to Rangiora from Sumner. Although mum was born in Bluff, she went to Rangiora High School. I also went to Rangiora High School with my brother Nick. I was born in Christchurch and grew up in North Canterbury. I am Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Tuahiwi is my marae.
I recently sailed as a crew member on board Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti alongside Te Aurere from Rapanui to Tahiti as part of the Waka Tapu voyage. I was a crew member on the second leg of the voyage and I was flown alongside other crew to meet the waka in Rapanui. We left New Zealand for Rapanui on November 26. I’ve been sailing with Te Aurere for 10 years now, mainly at weekend wānanga. This was my first long voyage.
Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti left Devonport in August last year to sail to Rapanui. It had been Hekenukumai Busby’s dream for 20 years to have his waka make this voyage. Hekenukumai recently had his 80th birthday and the success of the voyage is a testament to his life’s passion in building and sailing waka hourua. Stanley Conrad has long been the captain of Te Aurere and Jack Thatcher is the revered navigator of Te Aurere and captain and navigator of Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti. Awhi Thatcher who also affiliates to Tuahiwi was a great support on Rapanui before the waka left on voyage to Tahiti.
It was the most amazing experience sailing across the Pacific. The friendships made on Rapanui and among crew members on the waka have certainly enriched me. I’ve been back at work a month now and I miss the sailing, being in the middle of the ocean and the time we spent on Rapanui.