Destination Rapanui

In November 2012, Kate Souness (Ngāi Tūāhuriri), joined the crew of Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti, as part of the Waka Tapu voyage. This is her account of her journey. My name is Kate Souness. I’m a descendant of Rawiri Te Marie. My Poppa’s name is Peter Bates and Mum is Ra Bates. Mum lives in Rangiora with my Nan, Mina Bates. She moved back there from Sumner after the quake. Although Mum was born in Bluff, she went to Rangiora High School. I also went to Rangiora High School with my brother, Nick. I was born in Christchurch and grew up in North Canterbury. I am Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Tuahiwi is my marae.

I’ve recently sailed as a crew member on board Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti alongside Te Aurere, from Rapanui to Tahiti, as part of the Waka Tapu voyage. I flew to Rapanui last November with other crew, to meet the waka in Rapanui for the second leg of the voyage. I’ve been sailing with Te Aurere for ten years now, mainly at weekend wānanga. This was my first long voyage. Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti left Devonport in August last year to sail to Rapanui.

It had been Hector Busby’s dream for 20 years to have his waka make this journey. Stanley Conrad has been the captain of Te Aurere for many years and Jack Thatcher, is the revered navigator of Te Aurere and captain and navigator of Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti. Awhi Thatcher, who also affiliates to Tuahiwi, was a great support on Rapanui before the waka left on its voyage to Tahiti.

Sailing across the Pacific was an amazing experience and the friendships made on Rapanui and among crew members have been enriching. I’ve been back at work a month now and I am missing, Rapanui, the sailing and being in the middle of the ocean. I stayed two days on Moorea before flying home to work. The waka are set to return home at the end of March. Arohanui.

Nā Kate Souness.

Kate Souness between Rapanui and Tahiti.

Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti and Te Aurere in Moorea.