Story: Canoe navigation

A Fijian ndrua in full sail (2nd of 2)

A Fijian ndrua in full sail

Although different sails were used on ndrua, most were an upright V-shape. This allowed a large area of sail to be rigged on a low mast that was unlikely to snap. Masts were lashed together and rigged with ropes made from plaited coconut fibre and sea hibiscus bark. Calling these vessels canoes is almost a misnomer, as some Fijian ndruas were over 35 metres long. Polynesians told early Europeans that journeys of up to 20 days were possible, and with a travel rate of 150–250 km per day, it is easy to imagine how such vessels made Pacific migration possible.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-104168-F

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, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/2210/a-fijian-ndrua-in-full-sail (accessed 23 October 2019)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 8 Feb 2005