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Maori art. Large authentic Maori waka.

Maori art. Large authentic Maori waka.
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Maori waka
Authentic Maori waka created by Mike Carlton, Maori artist.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, waka were predominantly single-hulled vessels. This style was determined by the type and quantity of native trees available, ie. the narrow beam of a Pacific Island canoe was limited by the narrow girth of the local trees and required an outrigger for stability.

By contrast the native trees of Aotearoa (NZ): Totara, Kauri, Mangeao, Rimu, Kahikatea and Matai were so large that waka of sufficient beam could be constructed without the need of an outrigger.

Waka were most commonly hewn from the widely available Totara tree although kauri was preferred in the north. They were used principally for fishing and trading around the rivers and coastal waters of Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Te Waka Taua (war canoe)

775mm long Maori War Canoe (Te Waka Taua) with intricate hand crafted figurines and oars. Prow, stern and side panels embellished with intricate filligree and Paua inlay. Features a removable stern post and removable stands from base (for safe and compact packaging) and presented in a large robust mailing tube. Also included is an explanatory booklet outlining the history and meaning of its various parts and elements.

Waka Taua were the largest and most ornately adorned and carved of the Maori waka.

The Waka Taua was used only for war. The waka itself was highly tapu (sacred), no woman or food were allowed in the canoe. Behaviour in and around the canoe was highly ritualised, a breach of which could result in death.

The prow, stern and side panels were ornately carved, reflecting the style of a particular tribe. The larger Waka Taua were over 100ft (30m) long and 6ft (2m) wide and able to carry as many as 150 men with 100 paddling at a time.

All great Waka Taua had personal names and gained mana (fame) through successful war expeditions.

Source: Mike Carlton - Aeon Giftware

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