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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



(c. A.D. 1150).

Maori voyager.

Toi is one of the best known of the traditional Maori canoe voyagers from Hawaiki, and one of the early periods of New Zealand settlement is named after him. He lived about A.D. 1150. A search for Whatonga, his missing grandson, caused his eventual voyage to New Zealand, where he finally settled at Whakatane. His pa is still to be seen there today. In Hawaiki he was known as Toitehuatahi, the first-born, but later in New Zealand he was called Toikairakau, the wood-eater, because he lived on forest foods. This name gives him an important place in Maori history as it is taken to mean that he brought no cultivated food plants with him from Hawaiki. This suggests that the traditional pre-Fleet Maori did not practise the art of agriculture. It stresses the importance of the “Fleet” settlement of 1350 which, heralding a Maori agrarian revolution, had a profound influence on tribal organisation and areas of settlement.

by John Bruce Palmer, B.A., Curator, Fiji Museum, Suva.


John Bruce Palmer, B.A., Curator, Fiji Museum, Suva.