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More stories to be told as Tuia 250 Voyage arrives


More stories to be told as Tuia 250 Voyage comes to South Island

Rich local stories and rebalancing both sides of Aotearoa’s settlement histories can be expected following the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla’s arrival in the South Island this week, for events in and around Waitohi/Picton and Wairau, say co-chairs of the Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr and Dame Jenny Shipley.

The action has kicked off this morning with the arrival of the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla and a welcome pōwhiri at Meretoto/Ship Cove in Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound.

“This is an area of huge significance for Māori and Pākehā alike,” says Hoturoa. “James Cook spent more time here than anywhere else during his voyages to Aotearoa, yet long before him it was an important site for local iwi, as well as a gateway between the North and South Island for Māori seeking pounamu (greenstone) further south.

“Like Cook, Māori were attracted to the bay’s sheltered nature and fresh water supply. For Cook, the sloping sandy bay was the perfect place to beach the Endeavour and repair its hull. The long stays at Meretoto/Ship Cove also enabled scientists on the Endeavour to study native plants and animals and try introducing their own flora and fauna.

“As was the case at other parts of Aotearoa visited by Cook, the Tahitian tohunga and navigator Tupaia played a crucial role at Meretoto/Ship Cove. He liaised between the Endeavour and local Māori, forming trusted friendships, and his death was greatly lamented when he did not return to Aotearoa with Cook on the Endeavour’s second voyage.

“One of the many highlights of Tuia 250 for me personally has been seeing stories of people such as Tupaia come into the spotlight. This reminds us all that both Māori and Pākehā histories in Aotearoa have rich connections to Pacific voyaging and navigation traditions, through Tupaia’s contribution to Cook’s first expedition.

“Tuia 250 is about acknowledging what happened in the past, good and bad, so we are all in a much better place to understand each other and move forward constructively.

“Waitohi/Picton will be an important stop for the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla, particularly the Endeavour replica, as she’s scheduled to head home to Australia on 3 December after attending upcoming Tuia 250 events in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington.”

Hoturoa and Dame Jenny have both observed that for many people over the past seven weeks, seeing the Endeavour sailing with waka and waka hourua alongside her has been a tremendously healing experience.

“I know that for some people, the Endeavour symbolises pain and oppression. For others she represents exploration and accomplishment. We cannot change the past, but we can build a better future, one that recognises and weaves our cultures together more fairly and more evenly. That’s what Tuia 250 is all about,” says Hoturoa.

“I encourage anyone who’s in the area to get along to this weekend’s events. There will be a civic welcome tomorrow after the flotilla sails into Waitohi/Picton, all-day entertainment on Saturday, including a free evening concert on the Picton foreshore featuring Fly My Pretties, and opportunities to board the flotilla vessels on Saturday and Sunday.

“Wherever you are, you can follow the flotilla’s journey around Aotearoa by using the interactive tracker on the official Tuia 250 website. And there are more events to come in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington and Whakaraupō/Lyttelton, before the Tuia 250 Voyage comes to an end in Te Māhia on 18 December.”


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