There's smooth sailing ahead for Tauranga's Hinemoana waka thanks to support from Legacy Trust. The trust has gifted just shy of $9000 to the Hawaiki Rising Voyaging Trust that operates the 22-metre, double-hulled sailing waka berthed at Tauranga marina.
Hinemoana is used for sea voyages for 14-18-year-old youth, as part of a youth development concept similar to Spirit of Adventure. Fifteen youth are selected per trip, and the standard length of a voyage is eight days, with Hinemoana generally heading up the Coromandel coastline. Money was needed for a replacement dingy to ferry people to shore and to manoeuver the waka when required. Legacy Trust is the first community organisation to financially support the project, which has come about thanks to the philanthropy of Katikati's Dr Simon McDonald.
The Hawaiki Rising Voyaging Trust was established in 2014, with the mission to help youth believe in themselves and feel a sense of belonging. Soon after, the waka, Hinemoana, was purchased by Simon and donated to the trust. HRV Trust manager Garth Webber says the on-board programme teaches the youth about communal living, the importance of team work and co-operation, problem solving, social communication and self-esteem.
“These qualities are imparted via encouragement and the successful completion of the many challenges encountered during the voyage.
“Studies support the many benefits of completing such voyages, including increased resilience to cope with disruptive life events and to develop new protective coping skills that are effective when dealing with future adversity.”
Waka project leader Pat Mohi says the experience of living and working together on a waka creates connections that can last a lifetime, and can change perspectives forever. The youth learn to fish, dive for kaimoana, sail with the wind, navigate, work as a team and experience camaraderie and life-long learnings, says Pat. They also learn to be away from home, make new friends, cook, clean, and face up to an early-morning swim, and around-the-clock shifts, he says.
Mike Savage of Legacy Funerals says Legacy Trust is delighted and thrilled to invest in this youth programme.
“Our desire is to invest in our young people to help them develop into role model citizens within the Tauranga Community and beyond.
“We see this as a worthwhile venture for our Legacy community to assist. To strengthen and support the Hawaiki Rising Voyaging Trust, it is a privilege indeed.
“Our thanks to the Tauranga community for choosing Legacy Funerals. As a result, Legacy Trust is able to make contributions to programmes such as this.”
Garth says the HRV Trust was absolutely euphoric when it heard of Legacy's financial assistance.
Meanwhile, English-born Dr Simon McDonald comes from a dentistry background and is the ‘serial inventor' who created the success of award-winning company Triodent. He's also the founder of Tauranga dental technology company Rhondium.
Simon says purchasing Hinemoana provided an opportunity to combine culture and youth development. His hope is that Maori voyagers will develop a sense of belonging, a pride in their culture, and boosted self-confidence and self-esteem.
He hopes Pakeha youth voyaging will similarly benefit as well as gaining a wonderful learning opportunity as regards Maori and Pasifika culture while enjoying a “very exciting, positive and fun adventure”.