For about 30 young Hawke's Bay people from schools and waka ama clubs last weekend was one of learning the finer points of sailing preparation and taking to the water aboard the Te Matau a Maui Voyaging Trust waka.

And it was also a time for the students, aged between 13 and 22, and members of the trust to pause and give special thoughts to the late Roger Weiss who, with his wife Reydan, created the Elephant Hill winery at Te Awanga - near the sea they enjoyed.

Mr Weiss died while in Germany late last month.

Te Matau a Maui Voyaging Trust administrator Michelle Smith said Mr Weiss and his family had planned to call by and take in some of the activities at the Youth Hawke's Bay Weekend Workshop as Elephant Hill had stepped in to sponsor it.


Ms Smith said Roger Weiss had a great love of sailing and had been keen to learn the history of the Pacific so was keen to step in and help the trust run its youth programmes.
The Weiss family are in Germany in the wake of Mr Weiss' funeral there.

Trust manager Wayne MacGillivray, who moved with his family from Auckland to take up the role, said he was concentrating on setting up more educational programmes for the waka to deliver to the youth of the region and said they were important in terms of the trust's recruiting process.

"It is great that the Weiss family of Elephant Hill has come on board with the sponsorship," he said.

The students, who overnighted at Matahiwi Marae, were put into two groups and went through a series of maritime activities from learning to tie knots, the basics of sailing, star navigation as well as general water safety.

The highlights were at sea - a sail on the waka as well as a quick voyage aboard the Hawke's Bay Coastguard rescue boat the Cecelia Knowles.

"It was great to see so many rangatahi [youth] together in a positive learning environment," trust chairman Phillip Smith said.

"We covered a lot in the weekend - they were almost kept so busy they did not have time for playing on their phones."

Mr Smith said the last six months had been positive ones with two new trustees in Caren Rangi and David Trubridge getting aboard as well as the appointment of Mr MacGillivray.

The waka itself will be out of the water for the next fortnight though as it undergoes a full maintenance programme at Napier Port.

The port is a supporter of the trust and provides the logistics for the programme.