Story: Whenua – how the land was shaped

Kupe’s Sails (1st of 2)

Kupe’s Sails

Ngā Rā o Kupe (Kupe’s Sails), depicted in this 1850s watercolour by William Mein Smith, is on the eastern shore of Palliser Bay. The name was originally given to two triangular patches of light-coloured cliff that stood out from the green vegetation of the surrounding hills. The story behind the name is that Kupe and his companion Ngake camped there and argued over who could make a sail the quickest. Kupe completed his sail before Ngake and won. After the contest they hung the sails up against the cliffs.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: E-011-f-004
Watercolour by William Mein Smith

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:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Whenua – how the land was shaped - Kupe', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 8 December 2021)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 12 Jun 2006