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Tuia 250 comes to Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands


Pacific navigation and Waitangi treaty site in spotlight, as Tuia 250 comes to Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands

The Tuia 250 Voyage Flotilla is on its way to Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands, where more rich stories of our voyaging and cultural heritage will be shared.

• The initial launching (Wed 6 Nov, 9.30am, Haratu Kororāreka Marae, Russell) of three brand new totara waka – created by Hawaiian, Tahitian and Māori carvers during the recent Rātā waka symposium in Whangārei. Also touching the water for the first time will be the waka begun 27 years ago by the renowned waka builder and navigator Sir Hek Busby and Puaniho Tauotaha from Tahiti – and completed this week in Whangārei by Puaniho’s son Freddie, as part of Tuia 250.

• Recent archaeological excavations at Mangahawea Bay have confirmed that an early Polynesian settlement site is located here. This includes artefacts of Polynesian design but manufactured from New Zealand sourced material, early hunting of Moa and possible evidence of early Pacific style taro gardening. Together they reflect early cultural adaption by people from small island tropical Polynesia to the large land mass of temperate Aotearoa New Zealand. A pōwhiri on Thursday 7 Nov (9am – 12pm) will be held at Te Rawhiti Marae. This small settlement still holds traditional knowledge about Polynesian navigation and settlement and this is reflected in early Polynesian names still existing around the Bay of Islands. At 1pm a carved pou will be unveiled at Mangahawea Bay to acknowledge the connections between Aotearoa Māori and their Pacific tupuna (ancestors) from the Hawaiki homeland.

• A pōwhiri on Fri 8 Nov (9.30am – 11.30am) at Te Tii Marae in Waitangi – the symbolic birthplace of Aotearoa New Zealand - will be followed by storytelling and kōrero aimed at fostering a rich and deep cultural exchange (12.30 – 2pm).

• Last stop for the gaff-rigged schooner R. Tucker Thompson – this vessel will leave the flotilla after the Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands leg of the Tuia 250 Voyage. Although very much of European design, there’s an interesting story associated with this type of vessel that represents the interweaving of cultures at the heart of Tuia 250 - enterprising Māori such as the Ngapuhi leader Eruera Maihi Patuone were believed to have been involved in the building of similar ships locally in the early part of the 19th Century, to carry out trans-Tasman trade.

• More interesting crew stories – there’s no shortage of great stories behind the people, young and old, who’ve taken up places on the Tuia 250 Voyage, including 60-year-old Ross Davies. In his twenties, Ross sailed around New Zealand on a yacht with his dad, recreating Cook’s voyage – 40 years later he’s aboard the waka Haunui, reflecting his deepening immersion in Te Ao Māori.

Flotilla – key movements at a glance

• The flotilla is scheduled to arrive and anchor off Moturua Island on the afternoon of Thurs 7 Nov, then move to Waitangi on Friday morning 8 Nov (arriving around 7.30am). The tall ships will anchor out in the water while the waka will come ashore onto Waitangi Beach at around 8am. Crew from all vessels will attend the event at Te Tii Marae, beginning with the pōwhiri at 9.30am.

• Very early on Friday morning 8 Nov the waka Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti will travel to Waikare Marae for the handing over of a mauri stone at around 5am, before returning at around 6am to join the rest of the waka waiting to come ashore at Waitangi Beach.

• OPEN VESSELS - On Sat 9 Nov there will be opportunities between 10am and 3pm for the public to go on board vessels – the waka will be at Waitangi Beach and the tall ships at Opua Wharf. The tall ships will also be open to the public on Sun 10 Nov between 10am and 3pm at Opua Wharf.

Other events in Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands this weekend

Among the many other events and activities taking place this weekend are:

• Īpipiri Digital Mapping Table – Russell Museum, daily 10am – 4pm – an interactive, digital map that brings to life how the region and its ecology were first formed and developed.

• Whānau Day – markets and music at Waitangi Sports Ground, Sat 9 Nov 10am to 4pm.

• Stardome interactive experience – at Parish Hall Russell, Wed 6 and Thur 7 Nov 10am – 3pm, also Waitangi Sports Ground, Sat 9 Nov, 10am – 4pm and Opua Community Hall, Sun 10 Nov 10am – 3pm.

• Tuia Mātauranga Roadshow – an interactive shared learning experience for young people and their whanau -Waitangi Sports Ground, Sat 9 Nov, 10am – 4pm, and Cruise Club carpark, Opua, Sun 10 Nov, 10am – 3pm.


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