Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Tolaga Bay Transit of Venus 2012

Media release 3 December 2010

Tolaga Bay Transit of Venus 2012


Tolaga Bay – Uawa will host international celebrations for the Transit of Venus in June 2012. According to Victor Walker and Rev’d Stephen Donald, co-chairs of the local steering group, the Transit of Venus in 2004 provided opportunities for local school participation in international student exchange and scientific study. Appropriately, the public launch of the Transit of Venus 2012 initiative was made at last night’s Tolaga Bay Area School and Kuranui prizegiving.

Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of between 105½ years and 121½ years. The last transit occurred in 2004 and was not visible in New Zealand. The next Transit of Venus can be observed in this country on 6th June 2012; another transit will not occur until December 2117.

Two hundred and forty one years ago, James Cook of HMS Endeavour made landfall in the Tairāwhiti after observing the Transit of Venus in Tahiti in 1769. The Raiātean chief, Tupaea, a tohunga and artist, facilitated relations with local people, and a brisk trade in food, technology and cultural items resulted. These encounters between local iwi, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, and the British visitors at Tolaga Bay mark the first significant positive exchange between Māori and Pākehā. Scientists and artists on board the Endeavour collected flora and fauna, and recorded the local landscape.

Strong relationships built in 2004 with the Royal Societies of New Zealand and London, Natural History Museum of London, Kew Gardens, the British High Commission, the British Council, and Cambridge University, along with communities in Whitby and Portsmouth, have strengthened in the years since the last Transit of Venus. These connections have gone hand in hand with increased pride in local Uawa history and identity, and consequent flow-on into educational and community activities.

For several months Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti and the Uawa community have been working with a core group of distinguished individuals from the MacDiarmid Institute and Victoria University of Wellington, the Royal Society of New Zealand, as well as the Gisborne District Council, on a number of projects centred around Tolaga Bay as the national centre of observation of the Transit of Venus on 6th June 2012.

Te Aitanga a Hauiti and the Tolaga Bay community will stage a series of lead-up events, beginning in June 2011, culminating in several days of festivities over Queen’s Birthday weekend, prior to the observation day in 2012. A calendar of events will be announced early in 2011.

The MacDiarmid Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, and the Royal Society of New Zealand are planning a forum in association with the Transit of Venus to be held in Gisborne in the days following the Transit of Venus in 2012. Tairāwhiti Museum will also hold relevant exhibitions of art and artefacts, relating particularly to Tahiti, the home of Tupaea; and facilitate possible repatriation of significant Te Aitanga a Hauiti taonga held in overseas repositories.

Several local initiatives already underway, including the restoration of Tolaga Bay wharf, renovation and upgrading of historic Reynolds Hall and development of the Uawanui-a-Ruamatua riverside heritage trail, are set for completion by June 2012. These will all be key to events on the observation day, when the community plans to host several hundred visitors. Gathering people for the Transit of Venus observations will highlight the tourism potential of the Uawa district, and economic benefits will last well beyond June 2012.

Student exchanges with Tahiti and England are planned, and discussions are underway as to how the Natural History Museum, Cambridge University and Kew Gardens can be involved in the lead-up to and marking of the observation day. A number of New Zealand scientific societies and institutions have shown interest in timing national and international gatherings so as to include the Transit of Venus observations at Tolaga Bay on 6th June 2012 as part of their programmes.

“The Transit of Venus 2012 provides rich educational opportunities at Tolaga Bay Area School and Kuranui, utilising science, technology and the arts within the curriculum over the next two years,” says principal Nori Parata. “Involvement in the Transit will extend our community involvement and develop a sense of wider world citizenship among our students.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Fair Pay Agreements Should Be Embraced

Are Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs) truly the work of the devil? Given the vehement response to them last week by (a) employer groups and (b) by their parliamentary friends on the extreme right, you could be forgiven for thinking these FPA things will mean curtains for commerce as we’ve known it for the past 30 years. Believe me, they won’t. Less excitable types will regard FPAs as heralding only a mild shift towards a more centralised form of bargaining over wages and conditions, much akin to what other successful economies (eg Germany) have recognised for decades... More>>


Government: Further Action Against Gang Crime

The Government will make it illegal for high risk people to own firearms by introducing Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) that will strengthen action already taken to combat the influence of gangs and organised crime to help keep New Zealanders and their ... More>>


Maori Party: Whakatōhea High Court Decision

“We applaud the Whakatōhea High Court case that has now set a precedent for Māori rights and interest in their foreshore and seabed. It’s an outstanding decision because the Court recognises all reclaimed lands with significant and boating traffic” ... More>>


Judith Collins: Speech To Lower North Island Regional Conference

Good morning, delegates. It’s an absolute privilege to be speaking to you all here today as your leader. I’d like to acknowledge National Party President Peter Goodfellow, my fellow board members, my lower North Island colleagues and all of ... More>>

PM: Statement On The Speaker And Annual Review Debate

“The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. ... More>>

Parliament: Mallard Fails To Give Taxpayers A Straight Answer

Trevor Mallard has confirmed he is unfit to be Parliament’s Speaker by failing to answer several important questions relating to the false rape accusation saga that cost taxpayers more than $330,000, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says. ... More>>

Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>


PM Ardern And PM Morrison: Commencement Of Two-Way Quarantine-Free Travel Between Australia And New Zealand

Joint Statement by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern Commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand Today, Australia and New Zealand have fulfilled their commitment to establish two-way quarantine free ... More>>




InfoPages News Channels