The Waka are characterised by a carved prow and stern depicting important Maori Gods. Tangaroa (God of the Sera) with his serpentine body on the prow, and Tawhirimatea (God of the Wind and Storms) on the inner curve of the stern overseeing the safety of the paddlers. The birdlike Manaia, a guardian angel, with paua shell eyes reflecting light at night also features on the stern and along the sides of the waka.

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