Wooden canoe

Making the ropes

Before a canoe is made, the ropes to tie the canoe called ka'a must be prepared.
This is made from the fibres of the coconut. You need a special coconut.
The large, long ones make the strongest and longest strands or kata.
A prayer is said before picking the coconuts. When the coconuts are picked, you need to husk the coconut using a ko. This is a special stick (with a pointed end).


The husks need to be soft so that it is easier to clean the paru and easy to plait.


There are three methods used today to soften the husk (puru).
Boild for over twelve hours,
cook in the ground oven (umu) for three days...AND
bury in the mud for one months.

Our taunga and we chose to boil the puru for 12 hours - the quickest method. However, we learned that it was the hardest method!!!
We had to pound the puru really hard to get rid of the unwanted bits called the paru. Some students got blisters!

The rau ka'a

(the softened husk) needs to be dried out in the sun.
Before plaiting, we select several kata takita'i (single strands) from the rau ka'a and roll to make a kata (strand).
The strands are plaited to make a rope.
Plaiting is not easy work. We had sore fingers and hands. Each student made over five metres of ka'a each.


The taunga, (below) Papa Vaine shows how to einu (roll) the kata.