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Scientific Circumnavigations 1679 to 1859
Voyage of Dumont d'Urville 1826-1829

Dumont d'Urville had taken full advantage of the vocabularies of the islands recorded by previous voyagers. He had sufficient command of the language of the New Zealanders to communicate well, and during his visit he was able to record several long discussions with different individuals. His first encounters however were rather shocking to him, as he realized that technological societies do not have a monopoly on thinking. While exploring the islands, d'Urville requested the assistance of a native named Makara who helped him to navigate a difficult channel. Makara's obvious breadth of knowledge and sharp intellect surprised the European:

"I must record that Makara, in this difficult navigation, gave proof of a degree of calm control, attention and intelligence that would really have done credit to many a European pilot."


D'Urville's narrative includes a brief description of the canoes of the New Zealanders:

"On our way, we met Rangui's three canoes coming to the ship. The largest, adorned at the prow and the stern with feathers and tufts of fur, displayed along its gunwale a series of carvings in bas relief, painted red, and often enhanced with inlaid mother-of-pearl; the whole thing carried out in the best style of New Zealand art."



Canoes of the Bay of Houa-Houa (Tolaga Bay) and environs [figures 1-7];
Details of a canoe of the Bay of Wangari (Bream).

[figures 8-10]
(East and north coasts of north island of New Zealand)

from Voyage de la Corvette l’Astrolabe…
Pendant les Années 1826-1829:
Paris: J. Tastu, 1830-1834

D'Urville: Page 3 of 8.
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