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In remembrance of Sir Hekenukumai Busby

Media 13 May 2019

(Photo: Clare de Lore/Listener)

World-renowned carver and Māori navigator, Sir Hector Busby (Te Uri o Hina and Te Rarawa) passed away on Saturday 11 May, he was 86 years old.

Affectionately known as 'Sir Hek', he was a leading figure in reviving traditional Polynesian navigation and ocean voyaging through wayfinding techniques.

Busby sailed more than 30,000 miles to every Pacific island including Hawaii, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Norfolk Island. He has carved a total of 52 traditional waka and made three circumnavigations of the North Island since 1992.

It is thought that oceangoing voyaging almost became an extinct practice, however Busby's determination to immortalise Māori and Pacific wayfinding has inspired many others to follow in his footsteps.

Busby has received a number of honours, earlier this year in February he was appointed as a Knight Companion of the Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

His legacy will live on through the Kupe Waka Centre which was opened in December 2018 on family land at Aurere. It is a cultural centre developed in co-operation with the Ka’iwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center enabling the young generation to learn the skills in carving, waka-building, sailing and navigation.

Moe mai ra e te rangatira.