A waka hourua, or Maori sailing canoes, enters the Waitemata Harbour during the recent Tallships festival in Auckland. A waka hourua is a Polynesian sailing canoe which in ancient times were sailing vast distances over the Pacific Ocean, well before Europeans even considered sailing out of the sight of land. Their navigational methods were sophisticated & only in recent years have been understood by Europeans, but by the Polynesian navigators' own admission, much of the ancient knowledge of traditional navigation has been lost.
The great voyages in these canoes, including the arrival in New Zealand a thousand years ago, were the greatest feats of navigation ever carried out and meant that the Polynesians were scattered over of larger area of the earth's surface than any other ethnic group - from New Zealand in the south-west to Hawaii in the north to Easter Island in the east (distances of 7000kms & 7100kms respectively!). Many of these journeys have, in recent times, been re-enacted.