The first indigenous paddleboat was constructed on New Zealand soil.
Betty paddens, named after the famous New Zealand canoeist, was launched in 1894 in the town of Manawatu, near the border with New South Wales.
It was named for the famous Aboriginal canoeist Betty Wode, who first paddled from her home in Southland to the New South Welsh River in 1876.
She died on the way.
Now, the first paddleboat to be built in New Zealand has been completed, and has now made its way to Port Nelson for a full test before entering the harbour for its maiden voyage in 2018.
The 100 metre (330 feet) paddleboat is the first indigenous-built paddleboat ever to be commissioned by the state of New Zealand, according to the Department of Conservation (DOC).
“Betty’s story is inspirational to us all,” DOC’s chief executive, Andrew Stewart, said.
“As the first Indigenous canoe to be constructed in New Zeland, we know that the indigenous communities of New Zland will continue to have an important role in shaping New Zealand in the future.”
The DOC’s mission statement is to protect and conserve the natural environment.
The first indigenous paddling boats were commissioned in the 1970s by the Manawati Aboriginal Nation and the Waitangi Community in New South Wight, according the DOC.
The Indigenous Community in the Waitatemanahamuk and the Kawena in the North Canterbury communities were commissioned by Indigenous people in the area.
“There are people who have made great contributions to our culture and we hope to continue to be a strong voice in the community,” Stewart said.
New Zealand’s indigenous communities were founded in 1846, according Stewart, and are considered to be among the most influential in New England.
The state has long maintained its commitment to the rights of Indigenous people.
“New Zealand has a long and rich history of Indigenous culture, which includes stories of a strong, powerful, and influential Indigenous people,” Stewart added.
“The new paddleboat project will continue that legacy.”
The project, which is funded by the New Zealand Tourism Development Corporation, is expected to cost around $1 million.
It is expected that the project will be completed in the first half of 2020.