Waka hourua paddle named in honour of Samoan waka expert

updated By D'Angelo Martin

One of the oceans voyaging waka hourua part of Tuia 250 flotilla has celebrated the life of Ema Siope a waka builder and expert from Samoa.  In a fitting tribute, the crew and captain of the Hinemoana waka hourua have named their guiding paddle after Siope calling it Lilomaiava. 

Paying tribute to a prestigious wahine waka expert, Ema Siope.

Fetaui Iosefo (Ngāti Hāmoa) says, “She's always been about the ocean and the connection with the Pacific and how we are one ocean one people. She passed away earlier on this year in August and yesterday Hotu did a ceremony and the ceremony was in naming the hoe for Hinemoana.”

The passing of their sister was a struggle for the family according says Rebekah Rimoni, but she says it was the motivation they needed to follow her footsteps.

“Every Saturday from 7 am to 10 am so we just come and learn the kaupapa of Te Toki and why they do what they do, and we've embraced that kaupapa too. Learning how to do knots and putting up the sail, learning what it means and the importance of working together.”

Lu-Ellen Televave says, “She would always drag us along whenever she could whether that be waka ama, waka hourua anything to do with being on the water and the waka.”

One of Māoridom's leading waka experts Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr says Siope had dedicated her life to the waka resurgence throughout the Pacific, and that her legacy wouldn't be forgotten.

“I whakahaerehia nei e mātou a mātou kawa katahi karangahia ake ki tana whānau kia karangahia mai te ingoa o tō tātou hoe. Ko Lilomaiava tēra he ingoa rangatira nō Ema mai tana whenua i Hāmoa mai tana motu o Apolima.”

Lastly, Kerr says that the guiding paddling Lilomaiava sits as a beacon, reminding the people of the Pacific where they're from.

“Tuatahi hei whakanui i tō mātou hoa a Ema tuarua hei whakatinana hoki i ēra whakaaro i ēra kōrero kua ngaro haere pea o roto i tō tātou tirohanga Māori. He uri katoa tātou nō te Moana Nui ā Kiwa.”

Iosefo concludes, “It's such a privilege to be able to have Lilomaiava on this waka kaupapa, this is where her story begins.”

Lilomaiava, the guiding paddle for Hinemoana waka hourua, will carry on guiding them through the ocean for the duration of the Tuia 250 Journey.

One of Māoridom's leading waka experts Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr says Siope dedicated her life to waka resurgence throughout the Pacific. 

"I whakahaerehia nei e mātou a mātou kawa katahi karangahia ake ki tana whānau kia karangahia mai te ingoa o tō tātou hoe. Ko Lilomaiava tēra he ingoa rangatira nō Emma mai tana whenua i Hāmoa mai tana motu o Apolima," says Barclay-Kerr.

Siope's sisters were on hand at the naming ceremony vowing to continue and follow their sister's footsteps

"She's always been about the ocean and the connection with the Pacific and how we are one ocean, one people. She passed away earlier on this year in August and yesterday Hotu did a ceremony and the ceremony was in naming the hoe for Hinemoana," says sister Fetaui Iosefo

The Tuia 250 flotilla's next leg of commemorations is to be held at Whāngārei, in Northland.