It was a vessel of a different kind for Napier Port crew, as our team boarded the Te Matau a Māui waka for a sail on the harbour.
A unique experience, the sail was a gesture of thanks from the Te Matau a Māui Voyaging Trust, following the waka’s stay at Napier Port last year. As a major supporter of the Trust, Napier Port hosts the waka for its biannual dry-docking and maintenance. The Te Matau a Māui team involved in the maintenance say they were made to feel like part of the Napier Port whanau while the waka was at the port, with teams even throwing them a shared brunch.
That approach was reciprocated, with the Napier Port team invited aboard for a sail. One of the lucky few was Sven van Dulm, a pilot whose role involves guiding ships safely into the port.
“The trip was great, what it lacked in wind was made up for by the waka’s enthusiastic volunteer crew,” said Sven. “When the wind finally disappeared altogether, out came the ukelele and song, a pleasant way to finish the day.”
A keen sailor, Sven said he had plenty of questions for the crew and learnt a lot about the waka’s construction. “The vessel is an interesting fusion of new and old, with state of the art hulls (epoxy infused foam composites with Kevlar reinforcing) melded with the traditional Polynesian waka design, wooden spars and a beautifully carved steering paddle. She also utilises eco-technology with her two auxiliary electric motors running off Li Ion batteries charged by solar power.”
Read more about the partnership between Napier Port and Te Matau a Māui Voyaging Trust here.