Canoe Race on Tauranga Harbour by Horatio Gordon Robley (29 December 1865)

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Canoe Race on Tauranga Harbour by Horatio Gordon Robley (29 December 1865).

Caption

Watercolour of a canoe (waka) race on Tauranga Harbour on 29 December 1865 by Horatio Gordon Robley (1840-1930). Notes: "At the games held in camp at Te Papa on the 29th December, 1865, a programme of seventeen events was set down and created a great deal of interest among the five or six hundred spectators.... At four o'clock five swift war canoes competed for prizes.  These vessels were indeed beautiful objects with their elegantly carved heads and stern pieces, the kaituki standing amid-ships or perhaps at the bow, and by song and action, and flourish of spear giving time to the paddlers, the steersman directing the course by means of his powerful urunga or steering paddle.... Two of the canoes belonged to Otumoetai, two to Matapihi, and the remaining one to Maungatapu.... In the race the canoe of Hori Tupaea of Otumoetai was a foot or so in the lead, and by a superhuman effort increased the advantage and won...." (Fildes, 1921, quoted in Timothy Walker's thesis, Te Ropere, v 2 p222).  "The first canoe is that of the 'Ngati hine tapu' hapu of Otumoetai, the three fuglemen being Raniera Te Hia Hia, Hamiora Tu and Hohepa Hikutaia Te Mea. " (Adams, quoted as above). Tauranga City Libraries Image Number: 05-294.

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