Tuesday, July 08, 2008

'Low tech', high seas

This is a waka korari, or wash-through raft, built by the Moriori people of the Chatham Islands. The ancestors of the Moriori reached the Chathams from Aotearoa by canoe, but the absence of any trees larger and sturdier than the karaka in their new home meant that their aquatechnology underwent a drastic change.

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No matter where you go, there you are.

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Anonymous Viagra Online said...

Looks awesome, I love vehicles that are huge, like the ark for example, by the way this drawing looks like the ark in my mind.

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For me both are important but a little bit more the form, if you know about this, you know what I'm talking about, it's to explain, google it.

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Anonymous viagra online said...

wow the waka korari,is amazing, I have never seen one like this one, thank you so much for the article and the information, keep posting...

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