Hekenukumai Busby is world renowned for building beautifully carved waka.

Now one of his creations is for sale, to raise funds to complete a building set to be the home for New Zealand's first centre of traditional navigation.

The building in Doubtless Bay, which stands alongside the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute waka school, has been designed to preserve and disseminate knowledge based on teachings by Mr Busby, who is also a world renowned expert in traditional celestial navigation.

Now the 83-year-old has built a waka to sell with all funds going towards $500,000 worth of costs to finish the building.


"This waka is very, very special," he said.

He built his first waka in 1989 for the 1990 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and has since made 34 more.

Peter Phillips, a member of the Tarai Waka committee which is driving the project, said the opportunity to buy one of Mr Busby's creations was rare.

"It's a really beautiful piece of art."

Mr Busby said the construction of the 14m long kauri waka was carried out with help from students at the waka school.

"It was a fantastic learning experience for them."

The students were not the only people who learned new things building this waka. Even after more than 20 years of waka building experience, Mr Busby also learned.

"I looked at book - a How to Build a Waka - and the answer I got from that was to lift the stern and lift the bow.

"We tried it out before to look at how it performs - it's so much easier to handle, all other waka will be built like this."

Other waka built by Mr Busby, similar to this recent one, have sold for about $20,000.

So far, Mr Busby has had some interest from Te Runanga o Te Rarawa. "I'd love for this waka to remain at home."

The new owners will be able to choose the waka's name.

Anybody interested in the waka can go to www.finishthewhare.nz.