Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Winika cunninghamii. Orchid. Winikā.
FAMILY: Orchidaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Winika cunninghamii
PREVIOUS NAMES: Dendrobium cunninghamii
MĀORI NAME: winikā
TRADITIONS: Te Winika, the famous canoe on the Waikato River, was made from a large tōtara tree which, when it was cut down, was found to be covered with masses of winikā, Winika cunninghamii. This canoe was built in 1838 by Ngāti Tipa for the Ariki, Te Wherowhero, later to be the first King Potatau.The work had not been completed when Hone Heke threatened to raid Auckland. Te Wherowhero ordered the job to be completed with the intention of takng the canoe to Waitemata Harbour for the defence of Auckland. The threatened raid didn't happen and Te Winikā never left the river. The canoe was smashed by von Tempsky in 1863, only the centre portion of the hull remaining. This was taken to Turangawaewae in 1936 and the present canoe constructed. Used between 1938-1971, then given by Queen Te Atairangikaahu to the people of Waikato. Now in Hamilton Museum. (Alex McKay, secretary to Queen Te Atairangikaahu, in letter to Lucy Moore. His informant in 1938 was Tiaki Hira, a Tuakau chief. (Parsons 1988)