Early start to planning around Covid-19 to enable 2023 tribal river journey

Posted 6 January 2022 by Moana Ellis

Planning will get underway to enable the tribal river wānanga the Tira Hoe Waka to go ahead in 2023 after being axed for two years running.

The upper Whanganui River

The upper Whanganui River Photo: LDR / Moana Ellis

The two-week annual river journey from Taumarunui to Whanganui usually begins at this time of year but was cancelled in January 2021 and this year because of the threat of Covid-19.

Tira Hoe Waka executive committee chair Hayden Potaka says the planning will start early.

“Training, preparation in terms of Covid-19 being around with us. How do we change with the times so that it allows us to wānanga in spaces throughout the year and then also on the Tira Hoe as well?

“We’re looking at into the New Year, start planning early around how we do the Tira and being able to maintain the essence of the Tira throughout that period, so that we are able to go on water in 2023.”

Potaka said those who are usually on the river or supporting the Tira at this time could use the next few weeks to do their own Covid-19 planning for their whānau and marae.

“It’s probably a good time to take stock and hunker down and have a bit of a plan for home as well. A lot of our marae have been closed – what sort of precautions do we put in place to preserve life for the future? It’s one of those things we’re going to have to learn to live with – it’s just how we do that well.”

The Tira Hoe Waka is one of the highlights of the Whanganui River tribal calendar. It has been running for more than 30 years, usually with more than 100 paddlers and several hundred supporters either travelling with the group where possible by road or based at marae along the river.

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