Waka ama were originally made from a hollowed-out log with the ama tied on using rope made from harakeke. Today the waka ama is made from fibre glass and is designed for racing. Racing waka ama is an international sport and is popular throughout the Pacific, especially in Aotearoa.
Waka ama structure
Waka ama design
In order to travel quickly in the water, the waka have smooth narrow hulls. The hull is also rounded. This is because round sections have the least amount of hull touching the water for its size. This means it is easier for the waka to travel through the water compared with other hull shapes. However, the problem with round hulls is that the waka are more likely to tip over. To stop capsizing, the waka has an ama, which is long and thin.