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First Encounter 375 - Remembering when two worlds met

First Encounter 375 (1642-2017)--Remembering when two worlds met

December this year marks the 375th anniversary of the first encounter between Maori and European explorers.

The commemoration of that 1642 encounter between Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and the then local iwi will be celebrated in Golden Bay/Mohua over four days in mid-December. It is probably the first time in 375 years that representatives of all groups have been in that original location at the same time.

Over 16-19 December a variety of formal and informal activities are planned celebrating both cultures. Local school students are already involved in making traditional Maori flutes (koauau) and a cardboard replica of Tasman's "small boat".

The hub of the commemoration will be Pohara Hall, close to the official Tasman Monument, and Golden Bay/Mohua's Onetahua Marae, where manawhenua iwi (Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama, Te Atiawa) will welcome the official party at a powhiri.
Special visitors will include descendants of Ngati Tumatakokiri, the iwi who met Tasman in 1642. Unfortunately a lack of a shared understanding or language resulted in conflict that saw the voyagers driven away after the death of four sailors, one taken ashore whose fate is not known.

Also present will be the Dutch Ambassador and a party from Grootegast, near the birthplace of Abel Tasman, with whom the Tasman District shares a sister city relationship.

Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne says it is appropriate the Council is a major supporter of the commemoration, "Our district is where the very first encounter between tangata whenua and people of another race took place. It's reflected in our name, and in the name of Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand's most popular great walk."

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