Ninth Meeting: 4th November, 1907.
Mr. E. V. Miller, President, in the chair.
Mr. K. Watkins delivered a popular lecture, entitled “The Canoe that brought the Maoris to New Zealand; or, a Glimpse of Polynesia in the Past.”
An armada of at least six canoes, called by the ancient Maoris the “Great Heke,” left Tahiti about the year 1350, and, after a rendezvous at Rarotonga, left Ngatangiia Harbour for New Zealand direct. From various traditions and legends it could be gathered that the canoes were double canoes, that they had masts, a deck-house, and a stage above it Mr. Watkins exhibited a model of a canoe of this kind which had been lent to him by Mr. J. L. Young, and which he considered was a close approximation to the canoe used by the Polynesians for their longer voyages. There was every reason to believe that the Maori war-canoe as seen by Europeans when New Zealand was first discovered was a comparatively recent invention, and was adopted by the Maori colonists to meet the new conditions they were placed in when they finally settled down in New Zealand, and when communication with Polynesia ceased. Mr. Watkins considered that voyages to and from Polynesia and New Zealand must not be considered extraordinary, seeing that there was ample proof that at one time voyages were regularly made between localities in the north, west, and east of Polynesia thousands of miles apart, and that there were traditions of voyages having been made as far south as the antarctic regions.