1600s - Waka in antiquity

Aotearoa's busiest waterway

In pre-European times, waka (Māori canoes) would have endlessly transcribed this coast.

Stories of these trips enrich the oral traditions of the iwi (tribes) of the Hauraki Gulf.

In his book Hauraki Contested, Waiheke Island historian Paul Monin writes: “Hauraki means ‘the winds from the north’, winds that often brought hostile raiding parties to local shores…

“Tikapa Moana [the Hauraki Gulf] lay at the crossroads of the busiest waterways of pre-European Aotearoa that linked Northland, the Bay of Plenty and the Waikato.

“The Tāmaki portages, the Manukau Harbour, and the Piako and Waihou Rivers were avenues [from the Hauraki Gulf] to the Waikato. As a result, the early settlers of its islands and surrounding lands, like those of Sicily and southern Italy in the Mediterranean, were destined to have turbulent histories.”