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Tuia 250 Voyage Flotilla announced

14 May 2019

Tuia 250 Voyage Flotilla announced

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Chief Executive Bernadette Cavanagh announced today the core vessels that will take part in the Tuia - Encounters 250 national commemoration.

Tuia 250 acknowledges the stories from those first onshore encounters between Māori and Europeans, both good and bad, so we can learn about our history in a balanced and respectful way,” says Ms Cavanagh.

The Tuia 250 Voyage will include a Flotilla of six core vessels: two waka hourua (double-hulled canoes), a va’a moana from Tahiti, two heritage ships and one youth ship, which will sail together to sites around New Zealand later this year.

“I’m excited to announce the vessels comprising the Tuia 250 Flotilla,” Ms Cavanagh says.

“The waka hourua are Haunui from Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland, and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti from Tauranga. The va’a moana is Fa’afaite i te Ao Mā’ohi and joins the Flotilla from Pape'ete, Tahiti.

“The heritage vessels joining the Flotilla are the HMB Endeavour replica from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, the Spirit of New Zealand from Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland, and the R. Tucker Thompson from Pēwhairangi / Bay of Islands.

“The Royal New Zealand Navy will be supporting the Voyage with naval vessels at different sites.

“This event will be so much more than simply focussing on what happened in 1769 when James Cook, Tupaia and the Endeavour crew arrived in Aotearoa.

“New Zealanders are ready for and want a balanced, respectful and honest reflection of our journey together from those encounters to now. The Tuia 250 Voyage will provide a framework for this discussion.

“Together we have an opportunity to recognise the extraordinary voyaging traditions and cultures of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (the Pacific), the exceptional feats of Pacific voyagers, their mātauranga (knowledge), innovation and non-instrument navigation prowess and their decision to settle in Aotearoa before European explorers arrived. We will also acknowledge the feats of those European explorers and the technology they developed and mastered in crossing oceans to get here from Europe,” Ms Cavanagh says.

From October to December, the Tuia 250 Voyage will visit sites around Aotearoa New Zealand with significant cultural and historical importance to both Pacific and European voyaging.

“The coming months will provide many opportunities to learn about our dual heritage and think about our future – through regional and national events, activities and by following the Tuia 250 Voyage.


About the Tuia 250 Flotilla

Waka hourua

Waka hourua represent Māori and their traditional voyaging and trading capability, and subsequent voyagers right up until the current day, demonstrating the blue water sailing capability of Māori.


This waka hourua was originally given the name Va’atele and made for American Samoa. His maiden voyage was from American Samoa to Samoa in 2009, however when a tsunami hit the island the waka was damaged and left behind. When Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr took responsibility of the waka through the Te Toki Voyaging Trust, it was renamed ‘Haunui’.

More about the story of Haunui:

Vessel nameHaunui - from Te Toki Voyaging Trust Based in Auckland

Gross tonnage11 tonnes

Full dimensions Length: 22m, Beam: 6.5m, Draft: 0.5m (without centreboards) to 1.7m (with centreboards down).

Year built2009

FlagNew Zealand [NZ]

Certifying authority/classAuthority Class: Maritime NZ Part 40G Novelship (MNZ 135064)

Area of operation: Unlimited / Certified Passenger ship: CAT 1

Power220 AC

Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti

In 2000, Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi (Sir Hector Busby) began the build of ‘Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti’, named after his late wife, with a view to ‘closing the Polynesian Triangle’ by sailing to Rapa Nui (Easter Island). This vessel was part of the Waka Tapu voyage in 2012, departing Auckland and sailing 10,000 nautical miles return to Rapa Nui, before returning to Doubtless Bay on the east coast of Northland.

Read more about Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti and the Waka Tapu project:

Vessel nameNgahiraka Mai Tawhiti – from Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust

Based in Tauranga

Gross tonnage9 tonnes

Full dimensions Length: 15.8m Beam: 4.8m

Draft: 0.5 – 1.7m

Year built2005

FlagNew Zealand [NZ]

Certifying authority/class


Maritime NZ Part 40G Novelship

2x12 Volt house batteries and charges starter battery for outboard. Outboard motor is wired to give batteries top-up charge. House batteries can be run in parallel and series

Va’a moana


A vessel from Tahiti representing the origins of our Pacific people, as well as representing Tupaia as an important navigator on the Endeavour’s journey to Aotearoa and communicator between Māori and James Cook.

This vessel is the main asset of Fa’afaite -Tahiti Voyaging Society, a non-profit organisation created in 2009. Its goal is to help the renewal of ancestral navigation, without instrument. Fa’afaite means reconciliation, which reflects the Society’s desire to reconcile people with nature, culture and ancestral roots.

Vessel nameFa’afaite - from the Tahiti Voyaging Society

Based in Pape'ete, Tahiti

Gross tonnage14 tonnes
Full dimensions Length: 22m

Beam: 6.5m

Draft: 2.10m

Year built2009

FlagCook Islands

Certifying authority/classNovelship/Recreational vessel
220v AC

Heritage vessels

The HMB Endeavour replica represents the original Endeavour, as well as the Royal Society’s commitment in the 1760s to explore the world, understand navigational capability, including observing the transit of Venus and other scientific enquiries that form some basis of our knowledge today. The Spirit of New Zealand and the R. Tucker Thompson will represent both trading and voyaging capability and the subsequent migration that occurred as a result of those first onshore encounters.

HMB Endeavour (replica)

Construction of the Endeavour replica began in 1988 in Western Australia and the ship was launched five years later. Since then, the replica has sailed more than 170,000 nautical miles, visited 29 countries and many islands in the Pacific, and opened as a museum in 116 ports.


Vessel nameHMB Endeavour – from the Australian National Maritime Museum

Based in Sydney

Gross tonnage397 tonnes

Full dimensions Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 44m × 9m. Length: 43.6 m (143 ft), bowsprit to stern/Beam: 9.28 m (30.4 ft)

Height: 28 m (92 ft) mainmast/Draught: 3.4 m (11 ft)

Year built1993

FlagAustralia [AU]

Certifying authority/classAustralian Maritime Safety Authority

Spirit of New Zealand

The three-masted barquentine was commissioned in 1986. Since the retirement of the Adventure in 1997 the ship has undertaken an annual programme of around 340 days at sea. The Spirit is believed to be the world’s busiest youth training ship. Subject to stringent, on-going maintenance surveys, refits and audits, Spirit of New Zealand is expected to be able to continue operating youth voyages until around 2035.


Vessel nameSpirit of New Zealand – from Spirit of Adventure Trust

Based in Auckland

Gross tonnage184 tonnes (gross registered) –

55.32 (net tonnage)

Full dimensions Length: 45.2m, Beam: 10m, Draft: 4m

(Legal overall length on deck 33.25m)

Year built1986

FlagNew Zealand [NZ]

Certifying authority/classMaritime NZ 875169 (MNZ 100620)
Power 12v and 24v DC and 230v AC

R. Tucker Thompson

The traditional gaff-rigged schooner was started by R. Tucker Thompson in the late 1970s as a project to embody the best features of a traditional design, married to the materials of today. The vessel has a high reputation in the traditional sailing world and is considered a perfect example of a working Tall Ship with the advantage of being new and safe. The R. Tucker Thompson is operated by a not-for-profit charitable trust. All income derived from tourism sailing activities are used for maintenance, as well as providing a contribution to help Northland youth access the sail training voyages. In this way, the ship can continue to provide pleasure and learning to people of all ages; young and old, Māori and Pākehā, visitors and Northlanders alike.

More about R. Tucker Thompson:

Vessel nameR Tucker Thompson – from the R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust

Based in the Bay of Islands

Gross tonnage44 tonnes - approved to carry up to 49 passengers within Inshore Waters, 12 Nautical Miles of the coast from North Cape to East Cape.

Full dimensions Length: 17.8m, Beam: 4.88m, Draft: 2.6m

Year built1985

FlagNew Zealand [NZ]

Certifying authority/classMaritime NZ/passenger vessel/number 100492

Further information


Tuia 250 Voyage schedule

What’s happening at each site

• Opportunities for the public to go on board the vessels

• National Science Technology Roadshow about Pacific and European voyaging

• Pop-up planetarium focusing on celestial navigation

• Activities by waka hourua crew to instruct the public how to use waka sails and build a star compass

• Speaker presentations about the Spirit of New Zealand youth programmes

• Educational sessions hosted by the HMB Endeavour crew

• Display of story boards about the R. Tucker Thompson

• Wānanga and educational programme about sustainable oceans

• Regional community events – head to Tuia 250 website for more information, or get in touch with one of the four landing site trusts: , , ,

Outline of Tuia 250 Voyage destinations

5 - 11 October
Voyage begins with national Opening Ceremonies in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Gisborne

The first national Opening Ceremony of the Tuia 250 Voyage will be held on the 5 Oct 2019 at dawn in Gisborne when we will celebrate 1000 years of the voyaging and navigation tradition. The event will acknowledge the capability of Kupe, the Great Fleets and other Pacific voyagers as we welcome the waka hourua and va’a moana from Tahiti. Ministers and dignitaries will be present.

The second national Opening Ceremony taking place on 8 October will commemorate the arrival of the Endeavour and acknowledge those first onshore encounters. Ministers and dignitaries will be present.

12 to 16 October
Ūawa/ Tolaga Bay

The Tuia 250 Flotilla will sail on to Ūawa/ Tolaga Bay where the building and lighting of a beacon will guide the vessels into the cove. Much of this visit will focus on Tupaia, the Tahitian Chief and navigator who many Māori thought was the captain of the Endeavour.

18 to 21 October
Flotilla reaches Mercury Bay

The Flotilla will sail to the Whitianga in the Coromandel to the second main site where Māori and Cook met. This was also the site where Cook and his crew observed the Transit of Mercury.

25 – 28 October
Labour weekend at Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland

Get ready for Auckland’s Viaduct Village to host the Flotilla and where we expect it will be joined by many heritage and other vessels. There will be an opportunity to engage with the crew of the six vessels making up the Flotilla and to go aboard the vessels. The programme includes concerts and fireworks.

31 October - November to Whangarei then 7 - 11 November to Bay of Islands

The Flotilla will sail to Whangarei and the Bay of Islands where they will be welcomed with a pōwhiri on the water. Activities and a parade celebrating 1000 years of voyaging heritage will be staged. A waka symposium and a maritime festival across Opua, Paihia and Russell will take place.

In Northland the Tuia 250 Flotilla will acknowledge one of the earliest known landing sites in New Zealand and go to Doubtless Bay to salute Ta Hekenukumai Puhipi (Sir Hector Busby), a key figure in the revival of the Polynesian voyaging tradition.

21 - 28 November

to Marlborough Sounds / Picton

Here a pōwhiri will be held at the historic Meretoto/ Ships Cove where Cook returned three times. From there, the Flotilla will sail to Picton where community activities and public events will be held.

30 November - 3 December
The Tuia 250 Flotilla arrives in the Capital

The Flotilla arrives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington. From here we bid goodbye to the HMB Endeavour as it sets sail back to Australia for their own commemorative activity.

6 - 10 December

to Christchurch/ Rapaki/ Lyttleton

The waka hourua and the Spirit of New Zealand will head south to Canterbury. Community activities are being planned for this visit.

15 December
Closing ceremony at Te Māhia

The Tuia 250 Voyage will formally conclude at Mahia, a site of significance for ancient voyaging. Here the Tuia 250 Flotilla will depart with each vessel returning to its respective home.

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