Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr (Tainui) is the captain of the oceangoing waka Haunui. Hotu has been sailing around the Pacific for more than thirty-five years. He paddles waka, sails waka, teaches waka. In 2020 he was awarded Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and heritage commemoration.
Hoturoa grew up with his numerous elders who nurtured and cared for him on the many marae of Waikato. He is a native Māori speaker and spent the first six years of his life with the Tuhoe people in Rūātoki, where his parents taught at the Rūātoki District High School. Mr Barclay-Kerr lectured at Waikato University for almost 20 years and has more recently specialised in education and leadership programmes that use waka as a platform for learning and development, including working with former youth offenders to help them transform their lives through waka education. He co-authored the book ‘Wayfinding Leadership: Ground-breaking Wisdom for Developing Leaders’. He was a director of ‘A Waka Odyssey’, the major voyaging event that opened the New Zealand Festival in 2018. He was co-Chair of the National Coordinating Committee for ‘Tuia 250 – Encounters’, the national commemoration in 2019 marking the first meetings between Māori and Pākehā during the arrival of HMS Endeavour in 1769, as well as celebrating more than 1,000 years of Pacific voyaging, migration and settlement of Aotearoa. His vision, leadership and mana were critical to the success of Tuia 250 and ensuring a comprehensive national programme, amidst controversy about the framing of the commemoration. He was instrumental in ensuring the waka and tall ships of the voyaging flotilla reflected the dual heritage of the commemoration and those involved had the appropriate cultural capabilities.
Hoturoa is an orator on his marae at Kāwhia, the home of Haunui, and the ancient landing and settlement place of his ancestral waka, Tainui and his ancestor Hoturoa. He is a trustee on a number of trust boards and is currently the chairman of Te Toki Voyaging Trust.