Maritime Adventurers From Across The Globe On Historic Voyages To New Zealand

 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 


Tourism New ZealandMaritime adventurers at extreme ends of the sailing spectrum will make history this month (February 2018) when they gather in New Zealand waters for two very different events.



At opposite ends of the North Island over the same weekend, sailing craft – thousands of years apart in design and operation – will be navigated into port reinforcing New Zealand’s sea-faring heritage and reputation as one of the top sailing destinations in the world.



At dusk on 23 February a fleet of more than 50 waka will gather on Wellington Harbour to mark the opening of New Zealand’s largest international arts festival. And 650kms away in Auckland, the City of Sails, local boaties will be preparing to welcome the leading yachts competing in the Volvo Ocean Race due to make landfall around 24 February.



The vessels couldn’t be more different. The waka are unsophisticated, hand carved wooden canoes navigated by traditional methods using the stars and the elements – wind, waves and wildlife. In contrast, the Volvo boats are high spec, ultra-modern, carbon fibre racing yachts with the latest in satellite navigation equipment.



What the boats and sailors have in common comes down to Kiwi ingenuity and an adventurous spirit borne out of geographical proximity to the sea. New Zealand has nearly 16,000 kilometres (10,000 miles) of coastline, a temperate climate and nowhere is far from the water.



Ever since New Zealand’s first Polynesian settlers navigated uncharted oceans a millennium ago, sailing has been a big part of New Zealand’s culture and the Wellington Festival Waka Odyssey – a series of events over five days – honours the legacy of famous Pacific explorer, Kupe and celebrates the Pacific and Aotearoa New Zealand’s shared sea-going heritage.



Tens of thousands of people are expected on Wellington’s waterfront to welcome the arrival of the fleet which will include waka hourua (twin-hulled ocean-going waka), waka taua (large war canoes) and a fleet of waka ama (outrigger canoes).  As well as the large flotilla on Wellington  Harbour for the spectacular opening night, a 1,000-strong haka will be performed on land as actors, choirs and kapa haka groups come together to welcome the voyagers to the capital city.



The Volvo Ocean Race teams will also have a taste of New Zealand culture when they are welcomed on and off the water by Auckland kapa haka groups.  Auckland is one of 12 host cities during the seven competing teams’ 12 month-long circumnavigation and will be the longest stop-over giving teams time to complete maintenance and prepare for the action-packed Southern Ocean leg to Brazil.



This will mark the 11th time the race has visited New Zealand and the 10th time it has stopped in Auckland. Many look at New Zealand as a spiritual home to the Volvo Ocean Race, with over 350 Kiwi sailors having taken part in the race dating back to 1977.




Source:- Tourism New Zealand

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