Shelter from the storm - Te Matau a Maui at Island Bay

Te Matau a Maui is a waka hourua, an ocean-going voyaging canoe.  It is a 22 metre double-hulled vessel, launched several years ago by Ngati Kahungunu (iwi, or tribal group) to sail in a fleet of 7 canoes travelling the Pacific.  This week it sailed from Napier to join celebrations of Matariki (Maori New Year) in Wellington, due to start on Saturday.  But it was not able to enter the harbour safely because of a nasty southerly storm.  It diverted to shelter in Island Bay and on the grey and very windy and cold Wednesday morning, there it was among the usual fishing boats moored in the bay...

Lots of people were there, News crews were filming, everyone was bundled up against the cold.  But all on board the waka were fine - they had managed bigger waves in their travels.

Another view, the waka riding the waves close to the beach, behind it the iconic terracotta coloured bait shed, now a marine education centre, and the Orongorongos in the distance marking the route in to the harbour.  The crew in bright protective gear stayed with the waka.  They were able to secure it to a mooring offered by a local fisherman, and lines to his boat helped ensure that the waka did not beach.  The weather was very unpleasant through the following night too, but on Thursday it began to ease.

One of the local red billed seagulls that claim the seawall as their territory, feathers ruffled by the strong wind, surveys the boats as the sun breaks through.