Sea lashed waka crew regroup

By Lawrence Gullery

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Windy Wellington conditions mean Hawke's Bay's sailing waka Te Matau A Maui will remain in Island Bay until tomorrow before being able to move into the capital's harbour for this weekend's Matariki celebrations.

The double-hull vessel battled 120km/h winds on Tuesday evening, during its voyage from Hawke's Bay to Wellington, forcing it to sail and anchor at Island Bay instead of the capital's harbour.

Skipper Frank Kawe said the waka and its crew of 14 survived the first night anchored about 60m off shore from Island Bay.

"We were set pretty well but still getting pushed around by the weather during the day. We had been able to double up on our holding, put two or three anchors out and connect up to moorings, so we are a lot more comfortable now.

"We are close to the beach, right next to a surf club and we have been able to go on land, have a shower and catch up with the media."

Mr Kawe said the crew was busy checking its position during the day but also had some time to "take it easy" following the vessel's exciting arrival in Wellington.

"Some of our crew are people from our voyage across the Pacific and other people are new and have been training, coming out with the waka when it's been based in Napier."

Mr Kawe said he was happy with the way the crew handled the big sea conditions on Tuesday evening.

"We were relatively calm, we communicated well and did everything necessary. Afterwards a few of the ladies on board said our actions gave them assurance everything was under control."

Crew member Murray Bright said the waka had expected the rough weather but had missed its window to get into the harbour on Tuesday.

"We rode a 12 foot wave right into the beach here - it was really great."

Mr Kawe said the crew would wait for the southerlies to die down, which could be another 12 hours.

"We will look at the weather [today] and see whether we can move into the harbour in the afternoon or first thing Friday morning."

 

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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