Pacific Canoe Building & Sailing in Porirua, Aotearoa.

2024 Festival
Honored to be able to host these knowledge leaders of the va'a world (with more to be announced when they return to shore) as they share their experiences within kaupapa waka as kālai va'a (builders), kaumoana (sailors) and pou tautoko (land crew) they are all important to this work we love of va'a.
Honored to have Mama Awhitia and Papa Mike Tavioni from Rarotonga agree to come to the festival to speak, to talanoa, to maintain our connections as children of the ocean (this is one of the first times Mama Awhitia has agreed to speak publicly) The knowledge and decades of work from Papa Mike and Mama Awhitia is well known.And kaupapa waka in Aotearoa and the wider Pacific has been supported by the likes of Hekenukumai, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, Jack Thatcher, Heemi Eruera and many more so it's an honor again to host Hoturoa but this time accompanied by his daughter, waka watch captain Noenoe Barclay-Kerr symbolising the future of waka kaupapa.And in the Fa'atelengā Va'a (Sail out) I have asked local Pacific va'a to join and take to the water to demonstrate different Pasifika va'a including the holopuni waka 'Waka Kapiti' skippered by Te Wera Henare and team. I will also have my Samoan soa'tau va'a 'Matali'i' and launch the heritage 2-person va'a alo, alongside local waka ama canoe.The goal of the festival is to increase the awareness and visibility of Pacific ocean sailing and paddling canoe in the Wellington region as a reminder we are Pacific Moananui sailors.All activities are free and open to the Public. Get along to see va'a upclose, come and join the talanoa to hear the stories of kaumoana.Hope to see you there!

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

Matali'i built by John Misky | launched 3 December 2022
Photo - Tere Harrison

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.

Recordings of the Talanoa session with Tuatagaloa, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr and Jack Thatcher will be posted here over June and July to enjoy over the Matariki period.

Va’a Festival Media

2 December 2022

3 December 2022


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.

**Matali'i 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 (Samoan, Tokelaun) 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 family and 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. The BTS (behind the scenes) videos on youtube and social media, 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 with thousands of man hours and self funding, the va'a was completed in early 2022 and launched with the Porirua community on 3 Dececmber 2022. And the dream of building and sailing Pacific canoe in Porirua began.


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.


Matalii Va'a Festival 2024Pataka /Porirua9 & 10 Feb 2024see website
NZEI FonoTe Papa Tongarewa13 April 202311am - 12.30pm
Waka Ama StreetPorirua25 March 20239am - 10am
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 & Activities

Indepth detail on the va'a build is on Patreon

May 2023

Keel completed, onto the hull. Shaping each plank and building in the lashing detail to stich and lash planks together.

April 2023

Keel build is dubbed out and positioned. One board at a time and you get there. Progress is going well.

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. Also we enjoyed attending a community event with the va'a, the naming of Waka Ama St in Porirua.

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.