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Tuia 250 Voyage Flotilla announced

Media release: 14 May 2019

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Chief Executive Bernadette Cavanagh announced today the core vessels that will take part in the Tuia - Encounters 250 national commemoration.

Image is of the Tuia 250 Voyage Flotilla which features six core vessels.

Tuia 250 acknowledges the stories from those first onshore encounters between Māori and Europeans, both good and bad, so we can learn about our history in a balanced and respectful way,” says Ms Cavanagh.

The Tuia 250 Voyage will include a Flotilla of six core vessels:  two waka hourua (double-hulled canoes), a va’a moana from Tahiti, two heritage ships and one youth ship, which will sail together to sites around New Zealand later this year.

“I’m excited to announce the vessels comprising the Tuia 250 Flotilla,” Ms Cavanagh says.

“The waka hourua are Haunui from Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland, and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti from Tauranga. The va’a moana is Fa’afaite i te Ao Mā’ohi and joins the Flotilla from Pape'ete, Tahiti.

“The heritage vessels joining the Flotilla are the HMB Endeavour replica from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, the Spirit of New Zealand from Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland, and the R. Tucker Thompson from Pēwhairangi / Bay of Islands.

“The Royal New Zealand Navy will be supporting the Voyage with naval vessels at different sites.

“This event will be so much more than simply focussing on what happened in 1769 when James Cook, Tupaia and the Endeavour crew arrived in Aotearoa.

“New Zealanders are ready for and want a balanced, respectful and honest reflection of our journey together from those encounters to now. The Tuia 250 Voyage will provide a framework for this discussion.

“Together we have an opportunity to recognise the extraordinary voyaging traditions and cultures of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (the Pacific), the exceptional feats of Pacific voyagers, their mātauranga (knowledge), innovation and non-instrument navigation prowess and their decision to settle in Aotearoa before European explorers arrived. We will also acknowledge the feats of those European explorers and the technology they developed and mastered in crossing oceans to get here from Europe,” Ms Cavanagh says.

From October to December, the Tuia 250 Voyage will visit sites around Aotearoa New Zealand with significant cultural and historical importance to both Pacific and European voyaging.

“The coming months will provide many opportunities to learn about our dual heritage and think about our future – through regional and national events, activities and by following the Tuia 250 Voyage.

Tuia 250 Voyage schedule

What’s happening at each site

·         Opportunities for the public to go on board the vessels

·         National Science Technology Roadshow about Pacific and European voyaging

·         Pop-up planetarium focusing on celestial navigation

·         Activities by waka hourua crew to instruct the public how to use waka sails and build a star compass

·         Speaker presentations about the Spirit of New Zealand youth programmes

·         Educational sessions hosted by the HMB Endeavour crew

·         Display of story boards about the R. Tucker Thompson

·         Wānanga and educational programme about sustainable oceans

·         Regional community events – head to Tuia 250 website for more information, or get in touch with one of the four landing site trusts:,,,<.>

Map showing the timetable for the Tuia 250 voyage destinations.

Outline of Tuia 250 Voyage destinations

5 - 11 October

Voyage begins with national Opening Ceremonies in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Gisborne

The first national Opening Ceremony of the Tuia 250 Voyage will be held on the 5 Oct 2019 at dawn in Gisborne when we will celebrate 1000 years of the voyaging and navigation tradition. The event will acknowledge the capability of Kupe, the Great Fleets and other Pacific voyagers as we welcome the waka hourua and va’a moana from Tahiti. Ministers and dignitaries will be present.

The second national Opening Ceremony taking place on 8 October will commemorate the arrival of the Endeavour and acknowledge those first onshore encounters. Ministers and dignitaries will be present.

12 to 16 October

Ūawa/ Tolaga Bay

The Tuia 250 Flotilla will sail on to Ūawa/ Tolaga Bay where the building and lighting of a beacon will guide the vessels into the cove. Much of this visit will focus on Tupaia, the Tahitian Chief and navigator who many Māori thought was the captain of the Endeavour.

18 to 21 October

Flotilla reaches Mercury Bay

The Flotilla will sail to the Whitianga in the Coromandel to the second main site where Māori and Cook met. This was also the site where Cook and his crew observed the Transit of Mercury.

25 – 28 October

Labour weekend at Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland

Get ready for Auckland’s Viaduct Village to host the Flotilla and where we expect it will be joined by many heritage and other vessels. There will be an opportunity to engage with the crew of the six vessels making up the Flotilla and to go aboard the vessels. The programme includes concerts and fireworks.

31 October - November to Whangarei then 7 - 11 November to Bay of Islands

The Flotilla will sail to Whangarei and the Bay of Islands where they will be welcomed with a pōwhiri on the water. Activities and a parade celebrating 1000 years of voyaging heritage will be staged. A waka symposium and a maritime festival across Opua, Paihia and Russell will take place.

In Northland the Tuia 250 Flotilla will acknowledge one of the earliest known landing sites in New Zealand and go to Doubtless Bay to salute Ta Hekenukumai Puhipi (Sir Hector Busby), a key figure in the revival of the Polynesian voyaging tradition.

21 - 28 November

to Marlborough Sounds / Picton

Here a pōwhiri will be held at the historic Meretoto/ Ships Cove where Cook returned three times. From there, the Flotilla will sail to Picton where community activities and public events will be held.

30 November - 3 December

The Tuia 250 Flotilla arrives in the Capital

The Flotilla arrives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington. From here we bid goodbye to the HMB Endeavour as it sets sail back to Australia for their own commemorative activity.

6 - 10 December

to Christchurch/ Rapaki/ Lyttleton

The waka hourua and the Spirit of New Zealand will head south to Canterbury. Community activities are being planned for this visit.

15 December

Closing ceremony at Te Māhia

The Tuia 250 Voyage will formally conclude at Mahia, a site of significance for ancient voyaging. Here the Tuia 250 Flotilla will depart with each vessel returning to its respective home.

Join the Journey

Media are invited to join the journey. If you would like to register your interest for events or to be onboard the vessels, or if you have any questions, please contact [email protected] or call Rosanna Price on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s media phone 027 622 0468.

Updated on 6th October 2021