In the early years of European settlement, Māori were prominent in coastal shipping. Many of these early coastal trading vessels were tiny, just canoes or open whaleboats. In the rougher southern waters, the Ngāi Tahu tribe led the change from traditional boats to the sturdier European clinker-built whaleboats, which they used for whaling, fishing and trading. The Maori Girl was built quite late, in 1871, for Waikouaiti whalers Tame Parata and Parahu Tira, and is now displayed at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. The boat’s sharp lines gave it speed and strength.
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