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Tuia 250 commemorations kick off in the Coromandel this week

We are days away from celebrating the Tuia 250 commemorations, a national programme of events and education being expressed through music, storytelling, kapa haka, arts, and other cultural activities, around the country, as well as on the Coromandel.

There are a number of events happening in our district to commemorate and recognise the connections made by Māori communities Ngāti Hei with Captain Cook and his crew upon their arrival in Mercury Bay in 1769. In three days’ time we will see the arrival of the Tuia 250 Flotilla into Mercury Bay. This marks a journey of national significance showcasing the Pacific, Māori and European voyaging that brought us together. (see below for the itinerary). Ko te Rangatahi o te Tara - Kapa Haka has been postponed to Wednesday 16 October.

At 7.30am on Friday 18 October, the Tuia 250 Flotilla will enter Te Whanganui o Hei (Mercury Bay). The Flotilla is made up of six vessels, that will approach Mercury Bay in formation, with the HMB Endeavour (the replica of the original Endeavour) and Fa'afaite Va'a peeling off from the Flotilla and heading to Purangi/Cooks Beach where they will hold position for an hour during the Cooks Beach, "Beach Call", where the public are welcome to come down to the beach at the Central Reserve to watch the Endeavour and Fa'afaite Va'a sail past.

The balance of the Flotilla will sweep along Mercury Bay and head to the north end of Wharekaho (Simpsons) Beach, to begin anchoring. Crews from the vessels will assemble on the foreshore and at 11.30am the manuhiri (voyagers, community members, dignitaries, visitors to the area), will gather at the north end of the beach and begin the1.2km hīkoi. Members of the general public are welcome to join the hīkoi, however, participation in the official Pōwhiri is restricted to guests who have registered prior to this sold out event. In the afternoon, hāngī will be served followed by entertainment including kapa haka performances.

Te Pōwhiri is to acknowledge and commemorate the first amicable encounter between local iwi Ngāti Hei and Captain James Cook and the Endeavour crew 250 years ago in Mercury Bay on the Coromandel. The pōwhiri, a central part of Māori protocol, is a ceremony of welcome involving speeches, dancing, singing and hongi.


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