Waka (canoe)

A waka ( IPA: ' wɔka ) is in the language of Māori and New Zealand English a boat, usually a canoe. Similar boats in Polynesia bear word related names such as vaka. As with many loan words from the Maori language is the plural of this word also waka, not Wakas.

Waka comes in very different sizes, from light canoes as the waka Tiwai for fishing or for river trips for individuals or small groups to very large waka taua ( war canoes ), which can carry up to 80 paddlers and can be up to 40 meters long. There are also doppelrümpfige canoes for travel across the ocean.

Many waka are from a hull made ​​of hollowed-out tree trunks. Small waka are large usually composed of one piece. A waka ama is an outrigger canoe. Some waka, especially those of the Chatham Islands, were not conventional canoes, but made ​​of raupo ( bulrushes ) or Flachsstrünken.

Marine -grade waka, regardless of their size, were usually moved about sailing. War canoes were, however, always bepaddelt to demonstrate the strength of the warrior.

Small commercial waka are usually undecorated, larger canoes, especially the war canoes were elaborated with carvings. Today, this war canoes are used in addition to tourism only for ceremonial purposes.


The settlers of New Zealand Polynesian origin, the Māori arrived in large waka to Aotearoa, according to legend from Hawaiki coming. The names and stories of these waka were handed down orally, and the descendants of the individual waka belong to their respective iwi ( tribes ) to. Māori imagine, including the naming of their waka.

The term is used more generally Waka today, and can also be translated as a vessel or vehicle, for example a car. A waka huia is a kind Caskets and served as a depository of the tail feathers of the now extinct Huia bird, which were worn as hair ornaments. The neologism waka - rere - rangi (literally waka ( vehicle) sailing through the air ) means an airplane, a waka hari hino is an oil tanker.

Today, there are usually in the context of major festivals waka races, comparable to the dragon boat races in other countries.

  • Culture of the Māori
  • Type of boat