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Whetū Mārama – Bright Star

1h 30m Documentary 2021

For Māori, the canoe underpins our culture. We once built waka/canoes from giant trees and sailed the vast Pacific by the stars. These arts were lost to us for 600 years. Then the stars re-aligned and three men from far flung islands revived our place as the greatest navigators on the planet, a Hawaiian, a Micronesian and “The Chief” from Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Whetu Marama - Bright Star is the inspiring story of Sir Hekenukumai Ngaiwi Puhipi, aka Hek Busby, the Māori navigator and waka builder who was a key figure in reviving traditional navigation in ocean voyaging. The film dispels some of myths of the discovery of Aotearoa and inspires wonder about others, while being a testament to the great man’s vision and mana and his ‘bridge building’ to Mātauranga Māori (knowledge) and across oceans to the sister nations of Polynesia.

“What Sir Edmund Hillary did in conquering Everest, Sir Hekenukumai Busby has done in reclaiming the lost art of traditional Māori voyaging, sailing the vast Pacific navigating by the stars – restoring the past to carve our way into the future.” ~NZIFF


Toby Mills




New Zealand



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