Ngati Kahungunu's traditional Maori sailing waka will be a drawcard at the "Waka Experience" event at this year's Tremains Art Deco Weekend in Napier next month.

The waka has used Napier's inner harbour as its home after a two-year voyage around the Pacific.

Napier City Council said in a statement yesterday that the waka would take passengers on a two-hour journey around Hawke Bay where they would be treated to stories of local Maori legend and an insight into life for local Maori before the 1931 earthquake.

The sail will be followed by morning or afternoon tea while local schools perform kapa haka.


Art Deco Trust manager Sally Jackson said: "Waka Experience showcases the history of local Maori and is told from a Maori perspective.

"Because of the strong local involvement, it is expected that others in the community, particularly Maori and youth, will take part."

Waka Experience is led by Te Matau a Maui Voyaging Trust and involves a number of other local providers and groups including Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc, Ngati Paarau (Awa Studio), William Colenso High School, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Ara Hou, Pukemokimoki Marae, Te Whanganui a Orotu, Band, Greta Carney Caterer, the Art Deco Trust and Napier City Council.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said it was wonderful to see so many local organisations collaborating on something that would benefit locals as much as visitors.

"We have so much talent in Napier and it's great to see it being showcased in the likes of kapa haka performances, and of course we have this amazing treasure of a waka at home in our inner harbour - how special is that?" Mr Dalton said.

Tickets for the event cost $75 and are available from the Art Deco Trust.

There will be free entry to 'Waka Central', located in a marquee at Napier Sailing Club, which will house exhibits that depict locally significant stories and people.

The statement said that for the first time, Tremains Art Deco Weekend would be officially opened with a powhiri at Napier's inner harbour, featuring the waka being welcomed into the marina by local kaumatua and kapa haka groups.

The powhiri, to be held on February 18 at 9am, is open to the public.

"The powhiri is a very special and fitting way to launch this year's Tremains Art Deco Weekend," Ms Jackson said.