Listen to my story
Auckland Museum has one of the best ranges of Pacific canoes in the world. Variously shaped and often large, ensuring their safe storage is a big problem.
Greeting an old friend
“This canoe is from Pukapuka. It was built by Melota Ngamata, my father. The chants that you hear are from the island of Pukapuka, and they talk about the canoe, the importance of canoes, big canoes travelling the vast ocean of the Pacific. And that reminds me of my childhood, when I was in Pukapuka – I used to go on this particular canoe to fish. The canoe is a symbol of the big ones that used to travel around the Pacific, the canoes our ancestors used to go on and find new lands and food.
Seeing the canoe again brings fresh memories of home, my own island Pukapuka, in the northern Cook Islands. We used to travel between islands – there are three main islands in Pukapuka and they are separated by three miles from each other - so we used to travel on this canoe to fish, and for other purposes. And this particular canoe was involved an a competition in the Auckland harbour, some years back, but after that the Pukapuka community of Auckland decided to give it to the Museum, to look after it for years to come.”
- Mailalo Melota