“The waka is named Hinemoana. Hinemoana is the mother of the oceans, the guardian of the seas and the wife of Kiwa, the great chief of the waters.
She protects those who traverse the oceans.
Hers is a voice of great caution and also the pathway to the great maiden of the night”
The story of Hinemoana is given in the four main features of the waka tētēkura.
The tauihu features two kaitiaki, who are navigational aides in the realms of sky and sea.
The first is an aihē (dolphin), a guiding force in the ocean, able to surf through turbulent waters creating its own bow wave.
The eagle, held by the First Nations People as a visionary guardian and master of aerial navigation, flies in the wake of the aihē and is orientated to see far into the distance.
Hine-tī-tama sits at the base heralding the new dawn, pushed skyward by the force of Tūtara-kauiha, the whale pod leader.
The two side panels acknowledge famed ancestors of waka leadership, navigation and nautical feats across Moananui-a-Kiwa.
Hinemoana waka tētēkura was launched at Te Tii beach, Waitangi on 5 February 2007 and accompanied by the Ngāti Awa waka taua, Mataatua Toroa (built for the 1990 Waitangi waka pageant).
Toi Māori Aotearoa has continued to support the kaitiaki, Ngā Waka Toi, to present Hinemoana at Waitangi, providing a vehicle for the ongoing development of kaihoe and representing Mataatua waka and Te Tai Tokerau at this important event.
Hinemoana resides at the whare waka on the Whakatane waterfront alongside the Mataatua Toroa, which was refurbished by Te Hau o Te Rangi Tutua a master carver, and expert on traditions and customs of the Mataatua people, Te Hau Tutua was assisted by Whakatane District Council and Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa.