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Waka anchor off Rapanui

Saturday 1 Dec 2012 7:52 a.m.

The waka left Auckland on August 17  (AAP)

The waka left Auckland on August 17 (AAP)

Two waka crossing the Pacific using traditional navigation have reached their destination safely after three months of sailing.

The waka hourua, or double-hulled sailing canoes, are anchored off the southeast coast of Rapanui (Easter Island) after first sighting land early today.

The crews of both waka, Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti, were reported to be well and in good spirits.

Chief navigator Jack Thatcher said the crew had received fantastic support.

"Everybody on board is buzzing."

An official welcome will be held next week, when delegations from across the Pacific will join the locals in celebrating the arrival of the waka.

The expedition, named Waka Tapu, aimed to replicate journeys made by the Polynesian navigators that allowed them to spread throughout the Pacific Islands.

Mr Thatcher said the corridor the waka had followed on their last leg had been very good to them.

"It's definitely something we will look at more closely post voyage. I suspect it could well be a highway our tipuna [ancestors] utilised."

The waka stopped twice on their journey, the second time at Mangareva in French Polynesia in early November.

Their expedition was organised by the Maori Arts & Crafts Institute in partnership with Te Taitokerau Tarai Waka.


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