Angas in attempting to explain the widespread occupation of Polynesians across the Pacific suggests that they originated in Mexico (page 307), an erroneous theory that was later famously expanded upon by Thor Heyerdah in the 1940s.
For a similar contemporary account of Maori canoes, see Source Documents:
Best : Norfolk Island and New
Best, Ensign: The Journal of Ensign Best, 1837-1843.
R. E. Owen, Government Printer, Wellingon, New Zealand, 1966.
For a detailed account
of Maori surfriding in canoes, see Source Documents:
1923 W.H. Skinner : Surf-riding by Canoe, 1884.
The Journal of Polynesian Society Volume XXXII Number 1.
The canoes are
elegantly shaped, and elaborately ornamented with grotesque carvings, painted
red with kokowai; they have elevated stern-posts, and carry low triangular
sails made of raupo (a species of rush), and look markably picturesque.
A fleet of canoes, adorned as they often are, with the snow-white feathers of the albatross or the gull, and each manned by a numerous band of paddlers, presents a singular and beautiful appearance; gliding swiftly over the blue and crisp waves, and lowering their mat-sails they dart into the bay, and run up on the beach shooting like arrows through the white breakers.
Many of the canoes that arrive at Waltemata from the Thames, will carry from fifty to ???ty men who
all paddle together, singing in unison some Maori ...
... song in measured strain, may frequently be heard when the canoe itself is but a speck on the waves, and the distant sound falls on the ear with a wild and savage effect.
At the present
day, migrations in the Pacific are very common: canoes containing frequently
a dozen or twenty natives have been met with at sea more than a thousand
miles from the islands to which they belong; and others, driven by the
wind out of sight of land, are frequently carried along at the mercy of
the waves, and their crews drifted upon the first shores that may fall
in their way.
Not long since, the brig Clarence of Sydney fell in with a canoe from the Kingsmills group, containing a number of natives who had been twenty-four days at sea, and knew not in which direction they were drifting.
For my own part, I am strongly inclined to suppose that the original stock of the Sandwich Islanders, and of the New Zealanders—for they are evidently the same race, and of one primitive origin —
are descendants of the ancient Mexicans; who either emigrated in their vessels to the Sandwich
Islands (which are at a comparatively short distance from the American coast), or were driven thither by the winds, in consequence of getting too far out to sea to be enabled, with their deficient knowledge of navigation, to regain the American continent.
The children are
cheerful and lively little creatures, full of vivacity and intelligence.
They pass their early years almost without restraint, amusing themselves with the various games of the country : such as flying kites, which are formed of leaves ; the game of maui; throwing mimic spears made of fern-stalks, and sailing their tiny flax canoes on the rivers, or watching them tossed about by the waves of the sea.
These are the most favourite sports of these merry and interesting children.
In making their
nets and fixing weirs for catching fish, the natives are remarkably expert.
Eels are greatly sought after in the deep streams of the interior; and crawfish are obtained by diving.
Mussels, cockles (pipi), the fish of the haliotis (pawa), and a variety of other shell-fish, are used upon the coast as articles of food.