Story: Canoe traditions

Double-hulled canoes, Tonga

Double-hulled canoes, Tonga

Some believe that the Tainui and Te Arawa canoes were in fact one double-hulled canoe, Māhanga-a-Tuamatua (the twins of Tuamatua), which separated on arrival. Presumably it would have been similar to the canoes shown in this drawing by Isaac Gilsemans. Gilsemans drew this image while accompanying the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman on his voyage through the Tongan islands in 1643.

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 traditions - Te Arawa and Tainui', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 31 May 2023)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 8 Feb 2005