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The ceremonial waka taua Te Hono ki Aotearoa (The Link to New Zealand) represents a unique relationship between Māori and Dutch people forged through the practices of waka and provides a platform to promote contemporary Māori art on the world stage.

 

Carved by Hekenukumai Busby at Aurere in 2010, Te Hono ki Aotearoa resides at the Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden and subject to a 100 year kaitiaki agreement between Toi Māori Aotearoa, Ngā Waka Federation, the Njord Rowing Club and museum staff. This agreement ensures the livelihood of Te Hono ki Aotearoa as the only waka taua to be entrusted by Māori to another culture.

 

In partnership with Toi Māori Aotearoa and Ngā Waka Federation, members of the Njord Rowing Club are trained as kaihoe and travel to Waitangi to participate in the annual waka pageant. Here they are immersed in Māori culture, which informs and inspires their care of Te Hono ki Aotearoa, which is housed in a wharewaka on the Volkenkunde Museum grounds alongside Tahimana, the waka tētēkura, which is used to widely promote waka practices in Leiden.

 

Since the handover to the Dutch on 21 October 2010, Te Hono ki Aotearoa has been called upon to represent Māori people and promote contemporary Māori art at major European events.

 

City of London Festival 2011, River Thames
Te Hono ki Aotearoa opened the City of London Festival 2011 on the River Thames and represented New Zealand as the ‘Feature Country’ for this event.

 

Queens Diamond Jubilee Celebrations 2012, River Thames
As the ‘Official Representative’ of New Zealand, Te Hono ki Aotearoa was one of 1000 vessels launched on the River Thames to commemorate the sixty-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, a spectacle witnessed by 1.2 million people in London and a televised audience of 3.2 billion people globally.

 

​Centenary commemoration of the Battle of Passchendaele, Belgium, 2017
Crewed by Māori and Dutch kaihoe, Te Hono ki Aotearoa was launched on the Menin Gate moat contributing to the dawn ceremony for the centennial year commemoration of the Battle of Passchendaele.