The maiden voyage of the latest model of a three-person Holopuni outrigger canoe took place in the waters between Kāpiti Island and the mainland last Thursday.

Nick Beck, who owns the Holopuni company, came over from Hawaii especially for the launch of the fifth-generation model.

Levin-based photographer/videographer Nick Simmonds created a short video that shows the canoe being put through its paces by Beck and New Zealand representative for Holopuni Perry Hakaraia.

Beck has developed the canoe over 30 years.


"And with the latest model we've taken all the things we've liked from our other ones and things we thought would make it better.

"It has been a long process, taking three years, but we're now building them in Wellington."

Beck said the canoe is easy to launch, sail, doesn't take a big crew, is fast enough to race, and handles rough water.

"It's great for camping, surfing, having fun, fishing, exploring or serious racing, and is easy to use."

Hakaraia said it was the first Holopuni canoe to be built in New Zealand.

Aside from promoting the canoe, he intends setting up a sailing series which would be based in Paraparaumu Beach.

"This will be the home base for Holopuni — it's all going to start here on the Kāpiti Coast.

"And we've got the beautiful Kāpiti Island which will act as the backdrop.

"The series will also align with series that are running in Hawaii and Tahiti."

Beck's interest in outrigger canoes started in 1981 when he intended to write an article for National Geographic about the Hawaiian islands.

"I thought if I was going to travel the islands I would do it the traditional way so I built a little three-man canoe.

"I also spend a lot of time researching written records from the early explorers about what the islands were like back then.

"I set out in my canoe and took photographs of what was left of the old sites and what was there today. I discovered a lot of places were still as described.

"But so many places were now private properties and you couldn't go there so I tried to bring an awareness to save what we could.

"At the end of the trip I had been to so many places that people hadn't gone to, that if it was in a magazine they would start going, so I walked away from the article.

"And then I started getting people interested in sailing canoes and it has grown from there."