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Post written by Eliza Atwood '20:

Heh-hah ... tap ... stroke ... We are all in this together. The waka (boat) will not move unless everyone contributes respectfully. On Tuesday, we were lucky enough to all get a seat in a traditional Maori waka. We each had a short paddle and were instructed on how to use it properly by the Maori family who was on the water with us. After a few speak and repeat chants, we were able to find our rhythm and get the boat moving. Heh-hah, tap, stroke. The movement of the the entire boat was in unison, which included NMH, a group of German travelers, and a few Maori leaders. Once we were moving, everyone was smiling and having a blast, but this wasn’t all too easy. We paddled for a while, and I could tell some of our crewmen were growing tired. Finally, the chanter ordered us to stop and look back at how far we have come. We could barely see the shore where we took off. I was surprised and proud of how far we had gone together. It was at this moment when a group of kayakers was passing us. We got the cue from our leader, and then did the Pukana at them that we practiced earlier. A Pukana is a traditional way to frighten an opponent, with wide eyes and a tongue out. The fellow river-dwellers laughed, and then returned with a Pukana themselves. There was something satisfying and genuine about this exchange, and we all laughed excitedly. I will definitely remember this experience.

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