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Maori Waka

These Maori Waka are the large and highly decorated war canoes (the well known"waka taua") able to carry as many as 180 men with 90 or 100 of them paddling at a time to the synchronizing calls of a captain. The non-paddlers would take over paddling as required to relieve the others. The construction was that of a large dugout, making use of the majestic forest trees found around the land, notably the long-lasting totara (podocarpus totara) which grows to 30 metes in height. Once the hull was hollowed out using stone adzes and fire, the thwarts were fitted (seats for the paddlers) and the strakes or planks to increase the leeboard were carefully fitted and lashed to the hull with flax fibre. A prow is fitted, usually decoratively carved, but the most distinctive feature is the tall, highly carved stern-piece which was often further adorned by a trailing "pennant" of flax fibre. Great New Zealand Souvenirs & Gifts.

 

 

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