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Te Winika

Te Whare Waka o Te Winika  - Gallery 6

Free entry

The majestic Te Winika, a 200 year-old carved waka taua (Maaori war canoe) was collectively built by Ngaati Tipa of Tuakau, Ngaati Maru of Hauraki and Ngaati Mahanga of the western coastline of the Waikato. 

Te Winika's history is a story of Tainui and the King movement. During the tumultuous era of the New Zealand Land Wars, Te Winika experienced the subjugation of the Waikato tribes, and this once proud flagship of royalty was dismantled, partially concealed and left to deteriorate in the mud at Port Waikato.

In the 1930s, Te Winika became a symbol of the Kiingitanga and the waka renaissance led by the Kaahui Ariki (Royal Sovereign) and, in particular Te Puea Herangi who steered the restoration of Te Winika. Te Winika was restored by a team of carvers led by Ranui Maupakanga, a man already in his nineties and his apprentices Rawiri Tamainu and Ropata Wirihana.

Piri Poutapu and Inia Te Wiata were carving students at the time, who researched and carved the bow, figurehead, sternpost and sides.

On 18 March 1938, the refurbished and very elegant Te Winika, complete with new carvings ferried the Governor General Lord Galway and Lady Galway along the Waikato River to open Turongo House. 

Te Winika was refurbished again in 1972 by Piri Poutapu and his carvers.

Te Winika again faithfully served Maaori royalty until she was gifted to Hamilton city in 1973 by the Maaori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, as a gesture of harmony and goodwill. On 8 July 1973 Te Winika embarked on her final voyage on Waikato River to Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.

In 1986, the waka taua was restored to its original 1938 condition. The people appointed to the project were the descendants of Te Winika’s original crew members, carvers and canoe builders.

In 1987 Te Winika took a final journey from the former museum on London Street to the current Waikato Museum on Grantham Street.

In August 2015, a restoration of the waka was completed by Tainui carvers: Inia Te Wiata Snr, Inia Te Wiata Jnr, Whatihua Herangi, Renata Te Wiata, Wikuki Kingi, Iriwhata Tekata, Wikaraka Henare, Ripi Joseph and Hipirini Te Kata.

Discover the story of Te Winika and view the many beautiful traditional carvings in Te Whare Waka o Te Winika - Te Winika Gallery  which overlooks the mighty Waikato River. 

Note: Waikato Museum and Hamilton City Council use double vowels in te reo Maaori to represent a long vowel sound as it is the preference of Waikato–Tainui.