In 1991–92 Hekenukumai (Hector) Busby, a skilled navigator from Northland, built the waka hourua (double-hulled canoe) Te Aurere. He was inspired by Nainoa Thompson, the navigator of the Hōkūle‘a, a replica of a traditional Hawaiian canoe which voyaged to Aotearoa in 1985. Te Aurere has now sailed over 30,000 nautical miles, visiting Hawaii, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, New Caledonia and Norfolk Island, as well as making three circumnavigations of the North Island.
For his services to the community, Hekenukumai received the New Zealand Commemoration Medal in 1990. For his services to the Māori people, he was appointed MBE in 1994, made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2014, and knighted in 2018. He passed away in 2019.
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