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Accept the ‘Tuia Challenge’ this Waitangi Day

Media release: 28 January 2020

All New Zealanders are invited to accept the ‘Tuia Challenge’ this Waitangi Day 2020, say Tuia 250 Co-Chairs Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr.

While the Tuia 250 Voyage is complete, the challenge it posed continues.

“Last year’s national commemoration Tuia 250 acknowledged that for many of us our understanding of New Zealand history has been unbalanced. Tuia 250 provided an exceptional opportunity to begin a journey to put that right,” says Dame Jenny.

“During Tuia 250, thousands of people learnt more about the discovery of Aotearoa by Pacific voyagers, the reality of what happened between Māori and the Endeavour crew with the arrival of James Cook, and gained new insights and a more balanced understanding of the first encounters between Māori and Pākehā in many places around New Zealand.”

Image of the HMB Endeavour replica and the waka Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti that were part of Tuia 250 flotilla.

The Voyage also prompted many people to consider how their family voyaged to New Zealand. Dame Jenny and Hoturoa now challenge every New Zealand family this Waitangi Day to further consider their journey and to be open to the stories of others so we can celebrate the dual heritage we share that makes Aotearoa so unique.

Tuia helps us understand that all New Zealanders are bound together, precious and different but part of our nation with a shared responsibility to build a future together.

The pillars of Tuia 250 – ‘dual heritage’ and ‘shared future’ – we believe are a useful concept to facilitate conversations about the commitments made by those signing the Treaty of Waitangi and what that means for each of us today, say the Tuia 250 Co-Chairs.

“Understanding those first encounters, both good and bad, is essential so we can understand what happened 71 years later when a treaty was required to agree how Māori and Pākehā would move forward together. This led to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the colonial settlement of New Zealand,” says Dame Jenny.

“The Treaty is part of our dual heritage, our history, and our story as a nation. Many New Zealanders welcome the fact that our young people will soon learn about New Zealand’s history and the Treaty in the classrooms of every school.”

In 20 years’ time - when Aotearoa will be commemorating 200 years since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed – the Co-Chairs hope New Zealanders will have a much deeper understanding of each other and the way forward.

“One thing that was apparent from visiting iwi and Pākehā alike around the motu, is that empathy and understanding is crucial to acknowledge, share, heal and move forward,” says Hoturoa.

“Thank you to every New Zealander and all those communities that opened their marae, their classrooms, their community halls, their homes and their hearts to courageously and generously share their stories during the Tuia 250 Voyage. The Tuia kaupapa created a starting point for taking these conversations forward.

“By seeking first to further educate ourselves about our own history, we can have real understanding and empathy for everyone around us. This leads to creative solutions for some of the issues we face in Aotearoa, in particular the effects of colonisation and its consequences for Māori,” says Hoturoa.

As we approach Waitangi Day we invite all New Zealanders to consider what their personal ‘Tuia Challenge’ is in celebrating their own history and being curious about that of other New Zealanders.

We encourage you to celebrate who you are, wherever you are, and to be open to learning new things about other New Zealanders as we build a shared future together!

Updated on 10th February 2020