Sunday October 23, 2016   Last updated 02:21AM

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Pacific tales inspire research project

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A team from Auckland University intends to tie together stories from around the Pacific of some of the early Polynesian navigators who discovered Aotearoa.

The project, titled Waka Wairua: Landscape heritage and the creative potential of Māori communities, is being funded by Nga Pae ō Te Maramatanga, the centre for Māori research excellence.

Lead researcher Merata Kawharu says it came out of an earlier trip to Rarotonga and French Polynesia and in particular to a discussion with elders on Raiatea in the Society Islands.

"There were telling us a lot of detail about some of the tupuna we know - Kupe, Nukutawhiti and so on. They didn't know so much of the detail of these tupuna when they came to New Zealand but when you talk to kaumatua down here, they of course have their own kōrero, whether it's in Hokianga or further south where Kupe travelled, so we thought well there is something here we can do and bring together these threads of kōrero," she says.

Dr Kawharu says the Waka Wairua project will also look at the creative potential of Māori heritage landscapes, and how the knowledge gathered can be used by the various communities it comes from.

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