Story: When was New Zealand first settled?

Double-hulled canoe, Tonga, 1790s

Double-hulled canoe, Tonga, 1790s

This depiction of a double-hulled canoe, by a French artist, shows a group of Tongan men and women and one European man on board. The vessel has a platform joining the two hulls with a wooden frame that allows the crew to sit on two levels. When Polynesians settled New Zealand in the late 1200s they sailed from East Polynesia in double-hulled canoes.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: B-112-011
Engraving by Piron

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:

Geoff Irwin and Carl Walrond, 'When was New Zealand first settled? - The date debate', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/4257/double-hulled-canoe-tonga-1790s (accessed 25 June 2019)

Story by Geoff Irwin and Carl Walrond, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 20 May 2016