Paddle a traditional Maori canoe up the Waitangi River to sacred Haruru Falls or to a historical site where Maori chieftains met to fashion a treaty in the 1800s.
After a short walk from the pier, you will board a 50-foot Maori canoe and paddle into the typically tranquil waters surrounding Waitangi. The canoe, known as a “waka” in Maori, is similar to traditional ones that are carved from wide-girthed trees, which give them stability. It is believed that the Maori arrived in New Zealand nearly 1,000 years ago in large canoes after a month-long journey from Polynesia.
The exact direction of your journey will depend on the tides. If favorable, you will paddle up the Waitangi River. The banks are heavily forested, providing a home for abundant wildlife. In time, you will arrive at Haruru Falls, a place of great spiritual significance to the Maori. The name means “big noise,” a reference to the sound of the horseshoe-shaped wall of water that crashes into the river below.
If the tide prevents access to the waterfalls, you will paddle to another site that the Maori hold sacred. It’s the place where their chieftains met to discuss the terms of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. Here, you will meet members of the Ngapuchi tribe, the largest in New Zealand. Many of them are direct descendants of the chiefs who signed the treaty and will offer a unique insight into tribal life. Afterwards, you will return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of moderate to strenuous paddling. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Participants must be able to enter and exit the canoe with limited assistance. Water-proof clothing or a bathing suit worn shorts and a cover-up, sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable shoes that can get wet. Participants must be at least 10 years of age. Guests will ride in either a single or double canoe at the discretion of the ground operator on the day of the tour.