PALE HISTORY:   : : : : :

Te Awatea

Te Awatea was a beautifully carved, ancient waka taua, or war canoe, that belonged to the people of the Waimea, and was believed to be hundreds of years old.

It was annexed by NgaŻti Koata in the 1830s and taken as spoils of war to Rangitoto ke te Tonga (D’Urville Island), where it was later handed to Te Hiko, a son of the late Te PeŻhi Kupe. Here it eventually decayed and is said to have ended up being used for fence posts and boundary pegs.

In the years that followed there was a strange phenomenon concerning Te Awatea, where it appeared as a phantom waka, crowded with warriors, out in Tasman Bay. The strains of the songs chanted by the kaihautuŻ, or fugleman, could be heard as he urged his paddlers forward.

The sighting of the phantom canoe was regarded by the old people as a sign of the passing of ancient institutions and beliefs of the MaŻori.

Here, Te Awatea is painted under the Southern Cross and Milky Way, and pays tribute to the ancient tribes of the Waimea.


Te Awatea

Te Awatea