Tā Hec Puhipi’s story
Tā Hec sits in a chair at his home and points to a weathered cardboard star compass. In the middle of the compass is a flat and moveable waka hourua which can be rotated.

Tā Hec explains how a star compass is used. Image from the Education Gazette.

Education Gazette, editorial, 7 February 2019

Tā Hec [also known as Sir Hector Busby] is one of four master navigators in Aotearoa. In the early 1990s he built the waka hourua (double-hulled canoe) Te Aurere and has sailed more than 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 since 1992.

His reputation soon spread and he became revered for his knowledge of traditional voyaging techniques and is now widely acknowledged for revitalising Māori nautical practice. He is regularly visited by local schools and groups from New Zealand and throughout the Pacific.


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Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne

Ūawa Tolaga Bay

Whitianga Mercury Bay

Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland


Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands

Te Aurere Doubtless Bay

Waitohi Picton

Wairau Te Waiharakeke Blenheim

Te Whanganui a Tara Wellington

Whakaraupō Lyttleton