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All reviews maori culture lee anne kia ora team building split apple rock all ages abel tasman mixed group fantastic morning kayak companies wonderful trip new zealand unique experience whole family beautiful scenery south island chants
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Reviewed 20 April 2018 via mobile

This is a MUST DO FAMILY activity if visiting the Abel Tasman area. My husband & I along with our children 6 and 4 years of age had an amazing experience with other families from around the world. I enjoyed paddling & relaxing on the water with others. Lee-Ann’s ahua (energy) is just beautiful she is so warm & welcoming & creates a relaxed, supportive, positive space for everyone to enjoy. We enjoyed Māori culture being woven throughout the morning & the environmental awareness too. What a wonderful family friendly experience. Would highly recommend to all.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank mtT9463UZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2018

Thank you so much, Lee-Anne for the amazing Waka tour yesterday. I never experienced anything like this and I very much enjoyed it. It was a special day. You have a great gift how you include people, talk to people and how you guide your tours. You make everybody feel welcome. It was great to learn about the Maori culture and traditions and the local area. Thank you for an awesome day!

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank Rainbow386
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2018 via mobile

My wife and I went out with Waka Abel Tasman guided by Callum.

It was the highlight of our long weekend break in the Nelson Tasman area.

First off it is extremely safe and not at all arduous as you have a dozen people all paddling the waka together. It was thrilling passing the other sea kayakers at nearly twice their speed.

The landscape is just beautiful and this is a great piece of coastline for calm waters and lovely beaches.

Waka Abel Tasman also are intent on sharing Maori culture in a genuine low key way. This took the form of all learning to introduce yourself and where you come from with a mihi. As we got on the water Callum offered a prayer or karakia and as we travelled he also talked about many of the historic oral traditions and stories from the Maori of the area.

This is a fantastic morning adventure which doesn’t cost a great deal.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank dallad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2018

I and my partner are spending 3 months in New Zealand, primarily trekking and mountaineering, as well as doing Great Walks, kayaking and having lots of other adventures. We were in Abel Tasman with the intention of doing the Great Walk, however, due to the damage to some of the campsites post-hurricane Gita, we needed to modify our plan. We didn't know about Waka at the time, so we signed up with one of the major kayak companies out of Marahau to do the Awaroa-Bark Bay portion with the intention of walking out from Bark Bay back to Marahau. I'll be brief in saying that the kayaking experience was underwhelming in several respects but we were happy that we did it because it forced us to change our campsite reservation from Tonga Quary to Bark Bay. Otherwise, we would have never come across Todd and Waka Abel Tasman.

Todd, one of the owners of the company and part of the New Zealand World Championship Waka racing team, is a special person who deeply cares about the athletic and team-building aspect of the waka and preserving the cultural heritage of the Maori warrior canoes. We had spotted the double hulled and single hulled wakas on the beach at Bark Bay and came up to talk to Todd and learn more about the beautiful canoes. Ever since I first set eyes on an outrigger canoe in Hawaii, I've been fascinated with these boats but never dreamed to actually have a chance to row in one. I always thought only well-coordinated teams got to take out these canoes on the water.

Todd was at Bark Bay with a group of Whenua Iti teens - it's a Youth Leadership group that teaches youngsters about Maori culture and helps them bring that experience in their future work in the tourist industry in New Zealand. The group was fabulous - I saw them do a prayer in Maori before their dinner and I spoke to one of their trip leaders asking about the significance of the prayer / blessing. I also got a chance to chat with Todd while I was making dinner. It was then that he invited my partner and I to join the waka trip back to Kaiteriteri the following morning. He said they had two empty seats and would use the rowing power. It was such a tempting and exciting offer, that we couldn't refuse and accepted on the spot. That night, after dinner, Lucas, (one of the kids in the youth leadership program) and a few other kids and Todd gave us instruction on the technical and ceremonial aspects of being part of a Waka team. It was fascinating - so much to learn!

In the morning, we were ready to go. Being in a waka is a truly team-bonding experience. It starts with a ceremony and a blessing. As we enter the water, each seat number has his / her duties. Todd is positioned at the back, making sure that everyone's doing well and giving instructions and encouragement. I will never forget his warm voice encouraging us with "all together now", "And REACH!", "watch the timing", "and of course "rule #1" (which I'll let you figure out when you go on the waka). Once in a while he'll designate a seat number to do some bailing (pouring water out of the canoe).

We started with a ceremony of a circle, followed by a prayer for a blessing as we started our journey on the water. Every 14 strokes someone on the team (a designated person) would yell "hap", which meant that after 1.5 strokes everyone changes sides with the paddle. Before rowing, we would be led by Todd on a strong and powerful "waka salute" that to me sounded like a mini haka, ending in a "waikerete" (ready) command and "hoy" (row with the hoy). Todd would use the Maori commands at all times and would blow the conch shell when we passed by holy Maori sites, groups of tourists or when we would stop for breaks. The best part was that as we rowed, the group of kids would spontaneously start Maori chants.

The wakas are extremely fast compared to the kayaks - we met so many groups of kayaks, which were like sitting ducks, compared to the speed we were going. We would leave all the kayaks in the dust. We covered the distance between Bark Bay and Kaiteriteri (about 27 kilometers over land) in just over 3 hours, including breaks. That's really fast!

We feel extremely blessed to have come across Todd and Waka Abel Tasman on our journey. Upon our return we met Lee Ann, Todd's wife, who's got an amazing smile and a generous and happy attitude and seems to share Todd's passion and love for the waka and the people that the waka helps bring together. The day on the waka will forever remain in our minds as one of the most special and authentic experiences we've had in New Zealand. We wish Todd, Lee Anne and their fledgling business lots of continued success and we can't recommend them enough for their spirit, authenticity and passion! Waka on!

Date of experience: March 2018
1  Thank Friendly_explorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2018

Yesterday had a lovely time with Leanne, out on the waka - the day was stunning weather, and very enriching and lotsa fun. I recommend it for all ages. I especially enjoyed the use of Te Reo Maori and the way Leanne made it part of the whole experience.

Date of experience: March 2018
1  Thank pauagirrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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