Wooden canoe

Carving the Paiere

Our ancestors built their paiere (fishing canoe) and their vaka (voyaging canoes) using their own tools to help them. They had to work really hard because it was slow work. Sometimes, it took many months to finish one paiere.

Today, we use modern machinery to help us with making our paiere. The work is easier and can take 3 to 4 days to complete one paiere. Easy, but the traditional skills are something that we admire.

For our school project, we finished the paiere in 7 days because we had to use both the modern machines and the traditional tools. The taunga also taught us along the way during the building of our paiere. Many students had a go at using the toki for carving the paiere. We were nervous at first because it was the first time for most of us to use the toki. We felt very special using a tool that our ui tupuna used during their days. It was an awesome experience.

Here are some of the toki that our ui tupuna used (and we used as well)



This toki is used to carve out the big chunks to make the opening of the va'ariu (hull) It has a wide blade and you can use a lot of force to ensure the wood comes off.
This toki is used to carve the rough surfaces after the hull has been shaped.
This toki is used to help the oma after the big chunks have been carved out.
To smooth out rough parts on the wood. It is designed so that the blade can be moved to either left or right and centre, especially when you are carving the curved part of the va'ariu.


As the wood of the va'ariu gets thinner, this toki is used. You have to be careful when using this toki. You don't want to ruin the paiere. The taunga usually takes over the carving at this stage.
Toki tarai
This toki is used to carve around the little places on the paiere that needs to be added on to the va'ariu later, like the noko, utu mua, utu muri,


Here is Poutai and Joseph using the toki.



There is a rule that women and girls are not permitted to come closer to the work area where the paiere is being built. For our project though, an exception was made for our girls to come closer and be part of the working team.