Early May saw a number of workshops and hui held in Whangarei, Kerikeri and the Bay of Islands to promote regional and national plans for next year’s commemoration of the first meetings between Māori and Europeans.

Co-chair of the national co-ordinating committee for Tuia – Encounters 250, Dame Jenny Shipley, and staff from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage met with Te Au Mārie 1769 Trust, local community, mana whenua, government agencies and local bodies as part of their ongoing planning towards the 2019 event. Tuia 250 co-chair Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr was unable to attend due to illness.

Meetings held included a tourism workshop with Northland Inc and Te Puni Kōkiri, hui in Whangarei and Kerikeri with local government, tourism leaders, and key community influencers, as well as a day on the R. Tucker Thompson with mana whenua and other key stakeholders showcasing some significant sites in the Bay of Islands.

2019 will mark 250 years since the first meetings between Māori and Europeans during James Cook and the Endeavour’s 1769 voyage. Along with commemorating Cook’s arrival, Tuia 250 will celebrate and share the diverse histories of 1000 years of Māori and Polynesian voyaging and navigation traditions.

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage is responsible for co-ordinating national commemorative activities and providing support to regional commemorative programmes, which will be delivered in Northland by Te Au Mārie Trust.

Te Au Mārie Trust Co-Chair James Eurera said the work the trust  was doing locally would assist in providing all New Zealanders better understanding of our complex history. “Tuia is about acknowledging what happened – the good and bad. It’s an opportunity for all New Zealanders to explore and better understand our region and nations’ history.”

Te Au Mārie Trustees with Karyn Mclean and Dame Jenny Shipley from Tuia – Encounters 250 on board the R. Tucker Thompson

Te Au Mārie Trustees with Karyn Mclean and Dame Jenny Shipley from Tuia – Encounters 250 on board the R. Tucker Thompson

“Momentum is growing, especially in the four sites where Māori and Pākehā first met – Gisborne, Coromandel, Marlborough and of course, the Bay of Islands.”

Planned events and legacy projects include ecological restoration, cultural and education initiatives and regional tourism development.

Northland will host a national flotilla of historic and contemporary vessels in November 2019 while they tour sites of significance around New Zealand. They are also planning a waka building event involving international teams being hosted for several weeks. “Waka building has been recognised as an at-risk art form. We aim to change that by creating an event to not only showcase this art form, but celebrate it and reignite interest in it.”

He encourages Northland community groups to get involved in Tuia 250. “It’s not just about Te Au Mārie’s events. This is an event for our entire region and country. We encourage all our communities to get involved with their events or sharing their stories.”

Please get in touch if you are planning a project that is aligned to this kaupapa.