He Vaka Moana is a strengths-based project framed by oceanic principles and methodologies that connect us as Māori and Pasifika to the ocean. The underpinning kaupapa and theoretical framework of He Vaka Moana is the Tongan proverb “pikipiki hama kae vaevae manava”, which refers to our individual vaka coming together to support each other as we navigate the moana. He Vaka Moana operates through tuākana-tēina relationships, with Māori, Pasifika and Pākehā re-search fellows across disciplines working with experienced academics, professional staff and new and emerging re-searchers towards Māori and Pasifika student success. The ways in which these tuākana-tēina relationships enhance and support new and emerging Māori and Pasifika re-searchers are important to the success of “growing the fleet” and increasing Māori and Pasifika re-search capacity and capability. Through metaphors of the moana, this article takes a critically self-reflective approach to discuss being a re-search- teina. The experiences and conversations from “floating” through a relational space that can be understood as Moana Nui a Kiwa are explored in this article. Thoughts from the moana are shared as to how re-search tuākana-tēina relationships influence and support the growth of Māori and Pasifika re-searchers. The need for further oceanic projects that support and (re)centre Māori and Pasifika tuākana-tēina relationships and mentorship within westernised academia is also discussed.