Te Kākahi welcomed

Emirates Team New Zealand has christened their second AC40 Te Kākahi, the Māori word for orca.

14 February 2023


Emirates Team New Zealand hosted the launch and blessing of their new AC40 at their Wynyard Point base in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

As has become a treasured tradition, iwi manaaki Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei named and blessed the team’s latest boat Te Kākahi, the Māori word for orca.

Marama Royal, Chair of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust explains, “Te Kākahi is an intelligent mammal that works in tandem with other family members to hunt for food and protect its whānau. Te Kākahi is agile, fast, resilient and stays committed to its objectives.”

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said, “It was very special to have Shelley Horton christen Te Kākahi today, these christenings of our boats in partnership with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are always a highlight of each campaign.

“Each new boat we put in the water is another significant milestone that brings an immense sense of pride for every person in the team given the hard work and dedication that goes into this moment.

“It also marks another good progression towards our core objective of winning the 37th America’s Cup.”


The new AC40 will be used by Emirates Team New Zealand for match race training as well as its primary purpose as one of the fleet of one design boats for the Women’s and Youth America’s Cup in Barcelona in 2024, and will remain within its strict one design configuration throughout the campaign.

A couple of sailors with particular interest at the launch ceremony were Liv MacKay and Leo Takahashi who have been sailing onboard the AC40s as prospective Women’s and Youth America’s Cups in Barcelona in 2024, under the watchful eye of Josh Junior.

“The whole AC40, Womens and Youth America’s Cup project has been a huge undertaking by the team in its role as The Defender of the 37th America’s Cup,” explained Junior.

“We’ve already seen the performance of these boats turning heads, but the most exciting thing is we are already seeing the pathway in practice, developing the next generation with Liv and Leonard getting up to speed so rapidly.”

The fresh new branding of Te Kākahi also features a signifcant cultural pattern on the stern quarter, which Marama explains “is a modern interpretive form of Niho Taniwha – The Teeth of the Sea Serpent, which translates into skills, experience, strength, ability and knowledge.

“These patterns are also evocative of well-known Māori tukutuku designs, including Kaokao the strength of a warrior and Aramoana the prowess of Tangaroa and the bountiful sea life found within his realm.”

Welcoming team members and guests to the front door of the new Emirates Team New Zealand base is artwork inspired by the Māori design Puhoro that was traditionally carved in the hull of waka to make the waka faster.

“The designs are also influenced by Te Ara Tawhaki, Whakarare and Mangopare, reminding us that through change, innovation and determination we are always on the pathway of learning and excellence,” explained Marama Royal.

“These principles will help guide Emirates Team New Zealand as they represent and promote Aotearoa’s unique culture on the world stage when they compete in Barcelona.”

There is a busy year ahead for Emirates Team New Zealand as they continue their two-boat AC40 and on-water program for the next few months before commencing a well-practised and efficient pack-up and move to Barcelona for the Northern Hemisphere summer.



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