Ash Patea and his father Gerald partake in their first Tira Hoe Waka (Annual Iwi River Pilgrimage)
After years of Ash being a roady (child on the road) when he turned 12 he got on the river to paddle from Taumarunui to Whanganui for the first time.
After a number of years participating on the Tira Hoe Waka, Ash was asked to steer a 6 man waka for the first time from Taumarunui to Whanganui
Ash guided on his first paid commercial river tour under the guidance of Niko Tangaroa and his business, Waka Tours.
Ash and Toiora facilitated and guided river tours for a youth development programme run through Hinengākau Development Trust under the mantle of their aunty Di Ngarongo
After years of guiding along the Whanganui River BA Productions was set up formally to administrate the beginnings of Ki Tai’s very own river operations. At this time, BA Productions was already running education programmes across schools in Whanganui.
Ki Tai hosted it’s very first commercial job taking māori youth from ‘Taimaru’ for a 3 day experience down the river. This saw Ki Tai fitted firstly with top quality gear to host more of this type of experience.
Under the guidance of other māori owned operators since 2008, Ash has guided on every journey that Earlham College has partaken on the Whanganui River. It was this year that Ki Tai formally took on the task of providing cultural experiences for Earlham and maintaining a well respected partnership with the College.
Through persistance and effort building up a business, Ki Tai’s team grew to having just over 12 people on the Riverguide list. It also successfully achieved the Adventure Mark Certification to operate commercially and within the law.
Ki Tai formalised a relationship with Yeti Tours, an operator who’s commitment to the Whanganui River people is seen through his desire to employ local riverguides with cultural knowledge.
Ki Tai has set new horizons. Continueing in partnership with Yeti Tours, revamped traditional 6 man canadian canoes, new 2 man canoes and a 20 man māori waka in its fleet expand the future horizons to provide more cultural experiences for locals, visitors, tourists and more.
The most exciting part is the development of an experiential curriculum that will provide a basis for schools to achieve educational outcomes whilst still enjoying the mystical Whanganui River.