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Otago Polytechnic students help turns trees to vaka

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Otago Polytechnic Arboriculture students are branching out, collaborating with Pacific Trust Otago, which is carving a series of vaka from tree trunks felled by the students.

Earlier this year, Arboriculture lecturer Ben Fentiman was contacted by his uncle, Pacific Trust Otago Chief Executive Lester Dean, who asked if he knew where he might source logs for a vaka project.

"A job came up in Glen Leith. There were many tall, straight acacia trees that were perfect," Ben explains.

"The owners of the trees were very happy to donate the logs. The students dismantled the trees and got them ready for transport."

A few weeks ago, Ben and fellow Arboriculture lecture Alvar Del Castillo attended a blessing of the logs. And last week the students witnessed the progress of the carving.

"Pacific Trust Otago has been very keen to keep the students involved. Is important to them that we share in this journey with them," Ben says.

The first vaka is expected to be completed in mid-December and will be officially launched on Otago Harbour at a Polynesian festival early next year.

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