The annual Whanganui Iwi waka journey will not take place this year due to Covid-19 - but smaller and less risky events are happening.
The Tira Hoe Waka, in its 32nd year, would have had its first day on the awa (river) today.
A group of more than 100 usually paddles all the way from Taumarunui to Whanganui, stopping at marae along the way for wānanga.
"The younger generation felt it wasn't suitable for the Tira Hoe Waka to go ahead and risk wasn't at a satisfactory level," committee member Hayden Potaka said.
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It was a big decision to take, and the committee knew it would disappoint people.
There are many entry points to the river and usually many marae hosting the canoe journey, with more than 100 paddlers, while many others providing supplies to fulfil their needs and meeting them along the way.
The river is also busy with tauiwi (non Māori) visitors, Potaka said, and it would be extremely difficult to trace the source of any infection.
Smaller events on the river will be less risky, he said.
"Some of the families have headed out two days ago, and some are heading out today or tomorrow from various places on the river. Each of the kaumātua are having their own waka trips on the river.
"If the assessment risk level is low for next year then ultimately the Tira will continue. We are looking forward to its revival," Potaka said.