Waka in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Māori people continued to use waka as their principal form of transport in the early 19th century. By the 1840s, however, tribes had begun to purchase and operate European ships which provided greater capacity for transporting produce and trade goods to emerging markets in Wellington, Auckland and Sydney. Nonetheless, Māori retained waka for cultural and ceremonial purposes.
Waka were used to ferry dignatories, and to mark important occasions, on a regular basis throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For example, waka racing was a popular feature at the 1907 Christchurch Exhibition. Waka regattas were held annually on the Waikato River as part of celebrations of the Kīngitanga (Māori King) Movement. These continue today.