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Whetū Mārama: Bright Star

1h 34m Documentary 2022

Whetū Mārama: Bright Star is the story of Sir Hekenukumai Ngaiwi Puhipi – Hek Busby – who at age 50, left his career building over 200 bridges in the Northland region, and began his journey of building waka and using the traditional art of star navigation to sail across the Pacific. Through over 15 years of archival footage, Whetū Mārama: Bright Star shows the relationships Sir Hek built with Hawaiian navigator Nainoa Thompson, and Micronesian navigator Papa Mau Piailug. This relationship led to the construction of over 26 waka including the double-hulled waka Te Aurere, which had its first voyage from Aotearoa New Zealand to Rarotonga in 1992.

For Māori, the canoe underpins our culture. “If it wasn’t for the waka we wouldn’t be here today and that’s the long and short of it”. - Hek Busby

Whetū Mārama: Bright Star is directed and produced by Toby Mills and Aileen O’Sullivan and distributed theatrically in Aotearoa New Zealand by Limelight Distribution.


Toby Mills


Toby Mills


Ken Sparks


Alun Bollinger


Paddy Free




New Zealand


Limelight Distribution

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