Aotearoa to Canada: A Tribal Canoe Journey (2021)

Co-Produced and co-directed by Noel Woods (T.A Productions) and Byron Taylor (Moments Productions)
​Editor and Colorist: Gareth Hadden


In 2009, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde invited Toi Māori Aotearoa kaihoe to paddle with them on the Annual Canoe Journeys, a major cultural event for the Pacific North West Coast tribes, which sees more than 100 canoe families traverse the ocean highways of their ancestors.


The relationship between the Grand Ronde and Toi Māori Aotearoa is celebrated in this newly released documentary ‘Aotearoa To Canada: A Tribal Canoe Journey’ produced by 2017 Toi Māori Aotearoa Canoe Journeys kaihoe, Noel Woods (Ngāti Porou, Te Ātiawa, Ngāruahine).


Woods’ documentary offers a personal view of this gathering of canoe families as they undertake the twelve-day, 250-kilometre ‘Standing Tall’ ocean journey from Squamish, Washington State, to Campbell River in British Columbia, hosted by the We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum nations.

Woods and fellow Māori kaihoe, Tuparahuia Pita, travelled with the Grand Ronde aboard their treasured cedar canoe, Stankia, and had the opportunity to learn new nautical skills and cultural practices. Equally, they shared and expressed Māori waka practices, contributed to landing protocols and participated in Longhouse ceremonial events, all of which are well documented in this new video.


With the suspension of the Annual Canoe Journeys due to COVID-19, Toi Māori Aotearoa would like to acknowledge our long-standing and ongoing relationship with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and all of the tribal families we have engaged with over the course of our shared voyages.


Noel Woods has been involved in kaupapa waka from an early age. He was tasked with collecting wood chips when his uncles, under the tutelage of Rangi Hetet, were engaged in carving two waka taua at Waiwhetū marae for the inaugural Waitangi waka pageant in 1990.


Noel began his waka journey as a kaihautū at the age of 10 on the waka tētēkura, Te Rerenga. He went on to become a bailer, kaihoe and is now one of the kaihautū for the waka taua Te Āniwaniwa and Te Raukura.

Noel is also a musician, composer, Pūatatangi committee member and broadcaster for Ātiawa Toa FM and Te Upoko o te Ika, founder of the musical collective, Grove Roots, involved in regional festivals including Te Rā o te Raukura, Newtown Festival and CubaDupa and director/producer of music videos and documentaries.

Image courtesy of Noel Woods