Story: Canoe navigation

Tongiaki in Tongatapu, Tonga (3rd of 3)

Tongiaki in Tongatapu, Tonga

Isaac Gilsemans drew this image while accompanying the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman on his voyage through the Tongan islands in 1643. Two ocean-going double-hulled canoes, called tongiaki, are moored with their masts and sails lowered. Tongiaki were less manoeuvrable but more stable than the flotilla of fishing outriggers shown grouped around Tasman’s ships. Tasman readily recognised these double-hulled canoes from descriptions given by the Dutch voyagers Willem Cornelis Schouten and Jacob Le Maire, who had in 1616 encountered such a vessel in the open ocean between Tonga and Samoa. The largest double-hulled canoe was based on a Fijian design and built in Samoa, and could carry up to 600 people.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PUBL-0106-002
Photolithograph of ink drawing by Isaac Gilsemans

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Canoe navigation - Waka – canoes', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 16 July 2024)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 8 Feb 2005