Polynesian Canoe Building & Sailing in Porirua, Aotearoa.

Matali'i built by John Misky | launched 3 December 2022
Photography - Te Kawa Robb | @Toroa Creative

Polynesian Canoe Building & Sailing in Porirua, Aotearoa.

Matali’i Va’a Festival & Talanoa 2022

Thanks to Creative New Zealand & Pataka Art + Museum for supporting the festival.
Photography: @Toroa Creative

Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale keynote speaker of Matali'i Va'a Festival & Talanoa 2022. Tuatagaloa shares the story of Samoa’s return to sail va'a tele and the establishment of Le Aiga Folau o Samoa, the Samoa Voyaging Society. Props to Creative New Zealand for the support.


Talofa, Malo ni, Kia ora, Kia orana, Aloha, Bula Vinaka, welcome to Matali'i Va'a sailing programme in Porirua, Wellington, Aotearoa. Sharing ancestral Pacific sailing knowledge.

Va'a Specifications • 10m Soatau coastal sailing canoe
• Made of Yellow Cedar, Willow, Maire, Pohutukawa, Redwood & Fiberglass
• Weighs 400kgs (without crew)
• Mast 7m
• Can carry 4 - 6 adults
Matalii Va'a was built by and self funded by John Misky between 2017 - 2022 (2 years Covid-19 delayed) The va’a was a promise made to his Grandma to raise funds for the Tokelaun Bible translation project and a dream to grow Polynesian sailing activity in his community of Porirua.Over four years mostly after work and on the weekends, John and a small team of supporters built the va'a in a canoe shed at his home in Porirua based on John's research, conversations and childhood memories of va'a in the islands.This particular build is the strip planking method that began with a polystyrene mould shaped by hand and eye to create the hull. Form work was taken from the mould and strips of yellow cedar were built around that. Many of the BTS (behind the scenes) videos on youtube and photos on here and facebook demonstrate the build. Up close BTS videos can be seen on the Patreon account.With a background in joinery and carpentry and a desire to share Polynesian sailing John has been able to reconstruct this traditional Samoan soatau va'a.John is also an experienced sailor having sailed over 250,000 nautical miles around the world on the Samoan va'a tele (double hull canoe), Gaualofa. While in Samoa, John was fortunate to be chosen to participate in the revival of Samoan va'a tele activity and was a member of the 'Te Mana o te Moana' journey with seven fellow waka hourua (Polynesian double hull canoe).Following Te Mana o te Moana and his 3 years sailing aboard 'Gaualofa', John returned to Porirua in 2012. Five years later John started this va'a build and while he self funded and paid for the materials and thousands of man hours himself he refused to stop.The va'a build was completed in early 2022. Water tests took place late 2022. The va'a was launched with the Porirua community 3 Dececmber 2022.


Join the Patreon crew to see behind the scene videos and members only content of the canoe build and sailing activity. Memberships start from $5 NZD per month.


Pasifika FestivalWellington11 Feb 202312pm - 6pm
Va'a LaunchPorirua Harbour3 Dec 20220830
Talanoa Va'awww.matalii.com3 Dec 20222pm -4pm
Wana Ake FestivalTe Papa22 & 23 Jan 202110am-4pm
Waitangi DayPorirua06 Feb 202010am - 4pm
Te Ra o Te RaukuraWaiwhetu01 Feb 202010am - 4pm


3 December 2022

2 December 2022

25 April 2021

23 October 2017

22 July 2017


Latest on Va'a Build

Indepth detail on the va'a build is on Patreon

March 2023

New build, a stitch plank sailing va'a alo based on the 1920s journals and field notes of Māori anthropologist Te Rangihiroa (Sir Peter Buck) who spent time in Samoa studying Samoan life and culture.

February 2023

December 2022

November 2022

September 2022

May 2022

March 2022

Feb 2022

Jan 2022

Community Engagement

Art Works


Sept 22 - water testing has begun. Sail rig to come.
Join Patreon to see updates first.



© John Misky. All rights reserved.