'Low tech', high seas
The waka korari was made of seaweed and reeds, and actually floated partially submerged in water; this made for a chilly journey, but it also ensured stability in the very rough seas around the Chathams. Moriori were able to paddle their strange craft on journeys of over fifty kilometres, to bleak rocks that were albatross and seal colonies. The European and Maori whalers and sealers who arrived in the Chathams early in the nineteenth century made fun of the waka korari, but their own long canoes often rolled or capsized in seas which the Moriori craft calmly negotiated.
I thought about the waka korari when I read the comment an anonymous visitor to this blog made this morning:
Idiot/Savant terms Maori history before the arrival of Cook as 'five hundred years of low-tech existence'. But what does he mean by 'low-tech'? That technology is only computers and washing machines?
Technology is nothing more or less than the means by which humans adapt to their environment. It is illogical to talk of 'low tech' and 'high tech' societies. Every piece of technology in a pre-industrial society is designed to deal with the challenges thrown up by a specific environment. You can't take it out of that environment and compare it to completely different pieces of technology designed to deal with different challenges.