Finding meaning and connection in diving for kaimoana

Hoera Wyllie, Wellington region

Hoera Wyllie (Tainui, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Tukorehe) is an avid freediver and spearfifisher. She dives without oxygen tanks to gather kaimoana and connect with the ocean. When I met Hoera, she was halfway through solo hiking Te Araroa Trail – a 3000km trail from Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) to Motupōhue (Bluff).

We met on a stunning summer’s day at Tītahi Bay, with Te Waipounamu silhouetted across the sea. Hoera changed into her dive gear then pulled on her woven catch bag. At the water’s edge, she called a karakia to Tangaroa and Hinemoana before putting on her mask and long freediving flippers. In the water, she was remarkably calm and patient, diving deep to the ocean’s floor to retrieve kina…

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