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Te Toki a Tapiri

Library / Pictorial › photography
  • Description
    Systematic photography of the carving detail of the waka taua, war canoe, Te Toki on display in the Maori Court, Auckland Museum.
  • Collection area
  • Record richness


  • Catalogue title
    Te Toki a Tapiri
  • Creator
  • Description
    PH-NEG-C60899-C60909 Systematic photography of the carving detail of the waka taua, war canoe, Te Toki on display in the Maori Court, Auckland Museum.
  • Collection
  • Physical description
  • Production
    Breckon, Arthur Ninnis, 1887-1965, photographer (Creator)
    Archey, Gilbert, 1890-1974, compiler (Creator)
    Silver gelatin DOP
    Support: Paper
  • Format
  • Subject
  • Associated material
    • Lithographic negative used in production of the gate-fold.
    • Archey's photographic negative collection.
    • Archey's book Whaowhia: Maori art and Its Artists.
  • Availability
    • Permission to reproduce this image should be sought from Auckland War Memorial Museum and the copyright holder where applicable.  (Copyright)
    • Request in Library  (Access Notes)
  • Citation
    Te Toki a Tapiri,Archey, Gilbert, 1890-1974, compiler
  • Notes
    • Waka taua (war canoe) Te Toki a Tapiri; Tapiri's Battleaxe on display in Auckland War Memorial Museum.
    • In 1869 she was repaired and refloated as the main attraction in a regatta organised for the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh. Paora Tuhaere, Ngati Whatua chief of Orakei, subsequently looked after her, and she was finally presented to the Auckland Museum by the Government in 1885.
    • In 1853 the canoe was given by Perohuka to Tamati Waka Nene and his brother Patuone, of the Ngapuhi tribe, as a peace offering to mark the end of the northern musket raids on the East Coast (a piebald stallion named Taika - Tiger - was given in return).
    • Te Toki a Tapiri is twenty-four and half metres long, nearly two metres broad and could carry a hundred men. Each thwart of the canoe is marked with a symbol, some of which, for example the lizard, made that seat tapu to the tohunga or to chiefs.
    • Three sets of prints located at AM93 A891 and GN672 C221 in prints files and also AM93 A891 Reserve.
    • The canoe was brought to the Waitemata where she was used for many years, and was later sold to Kaihau and Te Katipa, of the Ngati Teata tribe, Waiuku. A speacial shed was built for her at Rangatira, near Waiuku. In 1860, following the outbreak of the Waikato war, Te Toki a Tapiri was confiscated by Government forces. Attempts were made to blow her up as she lay on Onehunga beach but these were unsuccessful, and she lay on the beach until the end of the war, when the owners were paid compensation.
    • Such canoes were quite seaworthy, but were used mainly for coastal war expeditions, or ceremonial visits. (Notes D R Simmons, Auckland Museum, in WHAOWHIA: Maori Art and its Artists, by Gilbert Archey Kt., C.B.E., F.R.S.N.Z.)
    • The hull is a single totoara log, adzed out. The side-strakes are part of another tree, and the bow and stern pieces from a third. The join between side-strakes and hull is covered by a batten and all the lashing holes were originally caulked with flax fibre.
    • Whaowhia; Maori Art and Its Artists, by Gilbert Archey. Editor's note: The present position of this twenty-four metre long vessel in Auckland Museum posed problems for the photographer, as it was impossible to position the camera mmore than about three metres away. The joined photographic prints were too long for the lithographic camera, and for handling, so further surgery was required before we were able to produce plates that could be fitted into the largest gate-fold the bindary could handle. Despite these problems, we feel the result does show, in remarkable detail, the superb carving that decorates this canoe.
    • Te Toki a Tapiri, the last of the war-canoes, has a long and interesting history. In summary, the early stages were as follows: built (but not carved) in about the year 1836 by Tamati Parangi and Paratene Te Pohoi for Te Waaka Tarakau, chief of the Ngati Matawhaiti sub-tribe, of Ngati Kahungunu, at Whakaki lagoon near Te Wairoa, Hawkes Bay; named Te Toki a Tapiri after one of Te Waaka Tarakau's famous ancestors; exchanged before carving, with Te Waaka Perohuka of the Rangowhakaata tribe, Poverty Bay, for a famous cloak; carved there by Perohuka, Rukupo, Kereru and others.

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