Media release: 14 December 2019
The Māhia Peninsula, where the land speaks to both voyaging and space-travel innovation, will provide a fitting backdrop as the Tuia 250 Voyage comes to a close this weekend, say the co-chairs of the Tuia 250 Coordinating Committee, Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr.
“Te Māhia is a place of great significance in terms of early Māori settlement, and local iwi Rongomaiwahine have organised a waka festival this Sunday called ‘Tuia Mai Tawhiti’, to celebrate the last stop on this incredible two and a half month journey,” says Dame Jenny.
“The focus this weekend is the three waka hourua from the flotilla, Haunui, Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti and Fa’afaite, who will be joined by the waka Tairāwhiti from Gisborne, and Te Matau-a-Māui from Napier.
“Te Māhia was the landing site for the ancestral waka Kurahaupo and Takitimu, so it’s very fitting that this ancient connection will be acknowledged when five waka hourua sail in to Māhia Beach early on Sunday morning.
“The Māhia Pensinsula is also where Aotearoa is embracing the space age, in the form of the Rocket Lab launch pad, so as we look up at the night sky there will be a great sense of connection both to our past and the future.
“We can recognise the ingenuity of the first settlers, who used the stars to guide them to our shores, alongside the ingenuity of those who are reaching out into space as part of the next phase of this nation’s history.”
Hoturoa says Māori achieved feats of navigation and voyaging that even today are considered incredible, and led to the birth of Aotearoa.
“An important aim of Tuia 250 has been to highlight the history of Aotearoa’s settlement. To do this, the Tuia 250 Voyage has been visiting sites of ancestral significance for tangata whenua,” says Hoturoa.
“This is about rebalancing our history and bringing into the public domain stories that until now may only have been familiar to local iwi.
“The Māhia area was named Te Māhia-Mai-Tawhiti by the high priest Ruawharo, who came here aboard the Takitimu, so the Tui Mai Tawhiti waka festival this weekend acknowledges a very deep ancestral connection.
“The festival also celebrates the matauranga, or knowledge, of waka building and traditional navigation.
“It’s important that this knowledge flourishes and is passed on to the next generation.”
Updated on 16th December 2019