Tauranga’s iconic Te Awanui Waka is undergoing a major restoration.
Restoration on the canoe, located on The Strand, started last Saturday to coincide with Matariki – the Maori New Year.
This week volunteers from across the community have helped in the project being led by Tauranga City Council’s Maori culture and heritage manager Dean Flavell.
“As part of Matariki we thought a good idea would be work on this waka and bring it back to life,” says Dean.
“We’re not altering anything on it we’re just bringing it back to its original state.”
It is hoped the restoration of the 40 year old boat will be complete by the time visitors arrive for the Rugby World Cup.
Specially chartered cruise boats carrying world cup fans will arrive in Tauranga later this year.
Dean says most of the restoration work will involve removing the old paint, repainting it and strengthening existing wood work.
It was last used on the water two years ago so it will also be checked for sea worthiness.
A minimum of 15 people are needed to operate the boat, but it can handle no more than 30 paddlers.