Since 2017 a specialised team based out of the University of Waikato and led by NPM Principal Investigator Dr Haki Tuaupiki have been working on identifying the traditional Māori language of navigation with the NPM scoping project Te Mātauranga Wakatere Waka.
How was language used as a navigational aid in Māori navigation, what are the perspectives of contemporary tohunga whakatere waka on Māori navigation aids today, and which stars do contemporary tohunga whakatere waka use in Māori navigation?
This project was born out of the regeneration of traditonal navigation knowledge over the past 40 years, and is being completed at an important moment in time when both Māori and Pākehā are reflecting on the arrival of Endeavour 250 years ago under the guidance of famed Tahitian navigator, tohunga and rangatira Tupaia.
The researchers have been exploring and enhancing the contribution that Māori navigation, mātauranga Māori and knowledge of navigation can make to current understandings not only of Indigenous navigation, but also linguistics, culture, and ultimately te reo Māori. Finding new ways to inspire younger generations and inform older generations in the ways of their tūpuna is central to their work and the successes they have enjoyed.
This project is the first comprehensive study into traditional Māori navigation in te reo Māori.
From this scoping research Dr Haki Tuaupiki (University of Waikato, Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao - Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies), subsequently received a Marsden Fund Fast-Start grant to rediscover and regenerate Māori navigational knowledge.