Early Golden Years, Waka and sailing ships, Golden Bay, 1843

Oil on canvas
60 x 100 cm

Out of stock

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By 1843 a vigorous trade existed between Europeans and local Māori, including large topsail schooners reaching as far as Australia. Two such schooners are seen here, sheltering behind the Tata Islands in Golden Bay, reprovisioning with food and water. Traditionally, large sea going waka carried woven square rigged sails but with European influence, a foresail was added over the prow of the canoe. It was also more practical to use canvas and reefing points could be sewn into the sails.

These waka plied their trade with Europeans between Golden Bay, D’Urville Island, Marlborough Sounds and Cook Strait. For example, in 1844 when the NZ Company settlement scheme in Nelson was bankrupt, settlers ran out of food and Māori sailed into Auckland Point with kumara, potatoes and other commodities to help the starving settlers of Nelson.

Tamati Pirimona Marino was a highly respected chief of Golden Bay who owned several European vessels including the Erena (named after his wife). This was the first known Māori-owned European vessel of any size (circa 34 feet) and described as a square stern clincher schooner, built at Motupipi in 1845.