The Wellington Chocolate Factory Connection with Te Wharewaka O Pōneke
The chocolate voyage has started its journey to Bougainville. The main objective is to help promote sustainability for James Rutana, a local farmer of organically grown cocoa beans while at the same time providing him with a fair living wage. The cocoa beans supplied by James will be fused into a new chocolate bar released at the factory later this year. On arrival into Wellington at the end of September, the Te Wharewaka crew will paddle out to greet the waka hourua (double-hulled ocean voyaging canoe) that Rochelle and Gabe (owners of The Wellington Chocolate Factory) are sailing back on.
Since Christmas last year, Rochelle Harrison the co-owner of The Wellington Chocolate Factory has maintained a strong involvement with Te Wharewaka O Pōneke located on Wellington’s waterfront. Every Sunday morning, Rochelle has been part of a crew of paddlers with the support from fellow dedicated Chocolate Factory staff, who practice paddling in the ceremonial Māori Waka.
Of the three waka housed at Te Wharewaka Te Rerenga Kōtare, the waka taua (war canoe) is the largest and most elaborate of the single-hull carved waka paddled by men. Te Hononga is the name of one of the waka tete used traditionally for transport and fishing is paddled by both men and women for ceremonial events, and also waka tours. The newest addition to this fleet is ‘Poutu,’ the fiberglass waka named after kaumatua Sam Poutu Jackson who passed away late 2013.
“Each of the waka have a kaihautu (captain), a steerer, and a dozen kaihoe (paddlers), like Rochelle” explains, Chris Fox (Waka Operations Manager) at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke.
The special bond that Rochelle has formed with the waka kaihoe has been a life changing experience. Not only has Rochelle been immersed to Māori culture, but this experience has helped her become mentally and physically prepared for the voyage back from Bougainville, Papua New Guinea later in September this year on the Fijian waka hourua owned by Uto ni Yalo Trust.
Chris and the team at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke are happy to have had the opportunity to support Rochelle and are excited to see how the once in a lifetime voyage back to Wellington, New Zealand unfolds.
The double-hulled voyaging canoe that Rochelle and Gabe are sailing back on from Bougainville is: open spaced, has bunks downstairs in each hull to sleep in, has food and water storage compartments, sits nicely on the water, and is designed to surf on the ocean. With the fairly cramped cooking facilities, toilet, and a bucket of water for showering, the crew will no doubt look forward to a hot shower on their return. Traditionally, the crew on board the waka hourua have a navigator who is trained and able to use the stars as a navigation tool. In addition to utilising the wind and currents, this waka will maintain contact with land through the use of more contemporary communication means; through satellite contact with radio and GPS.
The Wharewaka opened in 2011 and was built in partnership with Wellington City Council, acknowledging the past and making the city’s future commitment to Taranaki Whanui (family from Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Ngati Tama, Ngati Ruanui, and Ngati Mutunga iwi). Te Wharewaka is open daily and public access is through the Karaka Café.
For more information and recent updates about the Bougainville Chocolate Voyage have a look at our blog
Anyone interested in joining the crew on Sunday is most welcome (during winter the waka goes out every month). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in waka kaupapa.
For more information have a look on the Te Wharewaka o Pōneke website http://www.wharewakaoponeke.co.nz/tour-packages/
The picture below is the waka hourua from Ahuriri, Napier called Te Matau a Maui that arrived in Wellington for Matariki 2013 and will visit Wellington again next year.
Above is the Waka group photo that was taken during a tour at The Wellington Chocolate Factory earlier this year.
(Chris Fox wearing the blue puffer jacket).
Written by Lance Young - marketing extern.