Story: Canoe traditions

Statue of Wairaka, Whakatāne (3rd of 3)

Statue of Wairaka, Whakatāne

Wairaka was the daughter of Toroa, captain of the Mataatua canoe. It is said that when the Mataatua came adrift, she saved the canoe and uttered the words, ‘Me whakatāne au i ahau! (I must act like a man!), which gave Whakatāne its name. Others say it was Muriwai, Toroa’s sister, who saved the canoe.

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Photograph by Shirley Williams

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How to cite this page:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Canoe traditions - Canoes of the Bay of Plenty', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 December 2022)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 8 Feb 2005