"WHANGANUI, New Zealand — The Whanganui River is surging into the ocean, fattened from days of winter rain and yellowed from the earth and clay that has collapsed into its sides. Logs and debris hurtle past as dusk looms.
Sixty-one-year-old Tahi Nepia is calmly paddling his outrigger canoe, called a waka ama in his Indigenous Māori language, as it is buffeted from side to side.
Before venturing out, he makes sure to first ask permission from his ancestors in a prayer, or karakia. It’s the top item on his safety list. He says his ancestors inhabit the river and each time he dips his paddle into the water he touches them."