In Māori tradition, the canoe Horouta was one of the great ocean-going canoes in which Polynesians migrated to New Zealand approximately 800 years ago.

The story goes that Kahukura, a man from Hawaiki, introduced kūmara (sweet potato), to the locals who had never had anything like it before. In order to obtain more kūmara back in Hawaiki Toi gave the canoe to Kahukura. Upon gathering the coveted vegetables, Kahukura sent them back on the Horouta, commanded by Pāoa (or Pāwa).[1] According to Kahungunu tradition it was Pawa who captained the Horouta while Kiwa was the tohunga. J H Mitchell has written that the Horouta canoe reached New Zealand around 100 years before the main body of canoes, which arrived around 1350. Horouta called at different places along the East Coast until it was beached at Gisborne. Kiwa was the first to set foot on the land, according to custom. The place was thereafter known as Turanganui a Kiwa, or the standing place of Kiwa and the name was later extended to include the whole of the Poverty Bay flats area.[2]

Rongowhakaata Halbert wrote a history of Horouta, published posthumously in 1999.[3]

See also


  1. "Canoes of the East Coast". http://www.TeAra.govt.nz: Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 2 Aug 2011. The Horouta canoe belonged to Toi, the great Polynesian explorer.
  2. "Maori Occupation Patterns Prior to 1840" (PDF). http://www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz: Waitangi Tribunal. Retrieved 2 Aug 2011. Kahungunu tradition states that Pawa was the captain of Horouta and Kiwa was the tohunga of that canoe.
  3. Beattie, Graham. "Horouta: The History of the Horouta Canoe, Gisborne and East Coast". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
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