Story: Seaweed

Flax and kelp canoe

Flax and kelp canoe

The Moriori people of the Chatham Islands constructed canoes from korari (the flower stalks of flax) and bull kelp. Bull kelp fronds were inflated with air and placed in the bottom and sides of the canoe to keep it buoyant. Although water passed through the flax stalks and the canoes became partially waterlogged, they were very stable and could travel distances of 50 kilometres in rough seas. Large canoes could carry up to 60 people.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: F.004324/03

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Seaweed - Traditional use of seaweeds', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/4600/flax-and-kelp-canoe (accessed 14 August 2020)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff, published 12 Jun 2006