Te Waka o Te Iwi 1857

The Canoe of the People

Bibliographic Details    Background    Subject Matter    Availability

Bibliographic Details

Published: Auckland, October, 1857 - November, 1857?

450 x 320mm., 4 pages, 4 columns, all Maori, probably issued monthly, although Richard Taylor, a Church Missionary Society missionary, stationed in Taranaki and author of several works on the Maori, only saw one issue, he notes that two or three issues were published (1868: 306), no illustrations, no advertisements, and no cost given. The imprint at the end reads, "I taia tenei e Piripi Kunita ki te whare ta pukapuka o te Ripeka ki te Tonga, Akarana" [Printed by Philip Kunst at The Southern Cross, Auckland].

Te Waka o Te Iwi was edited by Hare Reweti [Charles Davis], a Church Missionary Society missionary and fluent Maori speaker. Wiremu Tamihana of Ngati Haua (Waikato) assisted him. Tamihana, who was instrumental in establishing Potatau Te Wherowhero as the first Maori King, appears to have gathered local Waikato support for the newspaper (October, 1857: 1).

The newspaper ceased after two or three issues, it was continued by Te Whetu o Te Tau.

For further physical details refer to Herbert W. Williams, A Bibliography of Printed Maori to 1900, Item 307.

This paper is written in Maori.


The first newspaper began with an editorial by Davis in which he suggested that a printing press be established for Maori people: Ko tetahi o aku tikanga ka mea atu nei ko te perehi ta pukapuka mo koutou mo nga iwi Maori. Nui atu e hoa ma te tika o tenei whakaaro no te mea he taonga whakamohio tenei i te hunga e kuare ana, he kai whakaatu i te he, he kai tohutohu i te tika (ibid.) [One of our ways has been to establish a printing press for you, for Maori people. Many people think that this idea is a good one because it is something that gives information to those in ignorance; it is a means of redress for those wronged, an instructor in just ways].

The letters to the editor suggest that money was being collected to establish a printing press: Kua kohikohi matou i te moni mo te perehi (Arama Karaka, Taupari, October, 1857: 3) [We have collected money for the press]; No te 26 o Akuhata ka puta mai nga moni ki au, erua pauna te kau ma rima hereni; ko te tuatahi tenei o te kohikohinga moni a Ngatihaua, hei whakatupato i te iwi katoa (Te Wetini Taiporutu, Te Au o Waikato, October, 1857: 1) [On the 26th of August 2 pounds and 15 shillings was given to me; this is the first of the monies collected by Ngati Haua, to set an example to other people].

Subject Matter

Contents include:

  • snippets of news from New Zealand and overseas
  • obituaries
  • public notices such as those giving boundaries against land sales
  • instructions reinforced with scriptural quotations on
  • farming
  • growing crops
  • cleanliness
  • the evils of drink, greed for money and violence
  • correspondence mostly to Charles Davis, Editor, from Waikato, Hauraki, Kaipara, and Turanganui, several concluding with waiata. These letters fill three of the four page issues.


This newspaper is on microfilm and microfiche. Original copies are held at:

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington:


Auckland Public Library: