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Let’s talk. Tuia 250 – a conversation about our nation

Media release: 21 February 2019

This year a commemoration marking 250 years since the first onshore encounters between Māori and Europeans will prompt New Zealanders to have conversations about our history, led by co-chairs of the Tuia – Encounters 250 National Coordinating Committee, former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley and voyaging expert Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr.

The centrepiece of the commemoration will be a flotilla of vessels that celebrates the long voyaging traditions of Aotearoa New Zealand. From October to December the flotilla will carry these stories to communities across the country.

“Tuia - Encounters 250 (Tuia 250) is an opportunity to understand and be informed about New Zealand’s voyaging and navigation traditions and to share those stories about when Māori, Cook, Tupaia, Banks and others met in 1769,” says Dame Jenny Shipley.

“We believe New Zealanders are ready to take this chance to hold honest and sometimes awkward conversations about the arrivals, encounters and settlement of New Zealand, to guide our shared future.

“Tuia 250 will encourage kōrero (discussion) and reflection, and enable a more balanced telling of our stories, so we speak openly and respectfully about our history. But it’s also about acknowledging all people who have chosen to call New Zealand home - whether their ancestors or family arrived on a waka, a ship or on a Boeing last week.”

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr says Tuia 250 encourages New Zealanders to acknowledge great voyaging traditions of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (the Pacific) and the feats of European explorers.

“This week Tuia 250 will have a presence at the kapahaka festival Te Matatini. The waka Pumaiterangi will be in the Wellington and Porirua Harbours representing innovation and skill that existed in 1769 and before that time,” says Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr.

Dame Jenny and Hoturoa both agree “Tuia 250 provides a huge opportunity for us all as New Zealanders and is a moment not to be missed as we shape our future together.

Published on 21st February 2019