This article draws on the lead author’s 2016 master’s thesis focusing on how Hauteruruku ki Puketeraki, a hapū waka club based in Karitāne, 40 kilometres northeast of Dunedin, is connecting people to the ocean using waka. As a result of the club’s activities, hauora is flourishing within this community. Māori connections to the ocean are complex and diverse, and in this article the authors highlight that waka are a way in which to establish and maintain these connections. In the context of Hauteruruku ki Puketeraki, the research found that connection to the ocean was synonymous with identity. Furthermore, the elements that constitute connection to the ocean for the club members are directly connected to maintaining and enhancing the health of people and the ocean. Hauteruruku ki Puketeraki provides both a site and a vehicle for others to discover this connection, which is positive for hauora and for the community.