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Explaining what “Waiata” means

Here is how we came to name our floating home ‘Waiata’ and what the word means.

As we journey our way around the globe, we are often asked what the word “Waiata” actually means. So here is our explanation and reasoning for choosing this beautifully meaningful name that we chose to grace the hulls of our floating catamaran home.

We named our boat “Waiata” – a word that translates to a noun meaning “song”, “music”, or “chant” in the Māori language. As a verb, it means “to sing”. The Māori language (also known as Te Reo) is the native language of the indigenous people of our land, and as we hail from New Zealand, we wanted our catamaran to be identifiably ‘kiwi’ (slang for being a New Zealander) wherever in the world we may sail.

Wherever we sail, we proudly fly the New Zealand flag. The New Zealand flag was given statutory recognition in 1902 and is comprised of two major components, primarily based on the British Maritime royal blue ensign. The Union Jack is displayed on the upper hoist corner displaying our origin as a British colony, whilst the Southern Cross is augmented with four five pointed red stars outlined in white on the fly, representing the Southern Cross. In a more poetic form, the blue of the flag is said to represent the blue sky and sea that surround us, whilst the stars signify our place in the Pacific.

For sailors that sail by celestial navigation, the Southern Cross constellation can be used to determine due south. It is an iconic and familiar sight to all countries located in the Southern Pacific Ocean and it is easily visible on every clear night. It is bright enough and so easy to find that it can even be seen in urban and high light pollution areas.

And tying all of that together, is a beautiful waiata (song) performed by Crosby Stills and Nash called ‘Southern Cross”. It is a song about sailing, and the name of the yacht in the song is “Music”. Music – the international language based around the arrangement of melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre. A universal aspect that spans all human societies and cultures. So there you have it. The meaning and origin of the name that is proudly borne on the hull of our home.

“When you see the Southern Cross for the first time
You understand now why you came this way
‘Cause the truth you might be running from is so small
But it’s as big as a promise, the promise of a coming day
So I’m sailing for tomorrow my dreams are a-dyin’
And my love is an anchor tied to you (tied with a silver chain)
I have my ship and all her flags are a-flyin’
She is all that I have left and music is her name”

Crosby Stills and Nash

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