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Tuia 250 Voyage completed but let’s continue the kōrero

Media release: 17 December 2019

The completion of the Tuia 250 Voyage was marked with a whakakapinga (closing ceremony) at Tuahuru Marae in Te Māhia today, but although the vessels’ physical journey is over, it’s important we continue the kōrero they encouraged, say the co-chairs of the Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee, Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr.

"This Voyage has had an undeniable impact on the communities visited, and on New Zealanders far and wide who joined in the conversations, and opened themselves to looking at our history in a new light," says Dame Jenny.

"Over the past 10 weeks, many of us have gained a new level of insight into the settlement of this nation, as stories well known by local iwi finally received the wider hearing they deserved.

"This rebalancing of our history, which has reset Kiwis’ understanding of who we are and where we come from, is well overdue.

"The conversations we’ve had over the past two and a half months haven’t always been easy, and for many there is still a lot of pain associated with our past. However, what I’ve witnessed is that when that pain is acknowledged, healing can begin.

"I’m confident that if we continue the spirit of openness and understanding that has been a hallmark of Tuia 250 so far, we can put relations between Māori and Pākehā in this country on a whole new footing."

Hoturoa says that for him, one of the most significant outcomes of the Tuia 250 Voyage is that it has helped foster a deeper and wider understanding of the voyaging histories and capabilities of tangata whenua.

"Over the last 10 weeks, people have seen the waka sailing alongside the European tall ships, and they’ve learned about the journeys our tupuna made across the Pacific, well before James Cook came to these shores.

"I hope we have helped lay to rest once and for all the notion that James Cook ‘discovered’ Aotearoa. When he arrived here on the Endeavour in 1769, he encountered a people who had discovered and settled this land many, many centuries beforehand, using our own sophisticated navigational and voyaging skills.

"Throughout the Tuia 250 Voyage, we have been helping New Zealanders learn more about these skills. We have shown people that well before the invention of the sextant, we were using the star compass to help us navigate and cross great stretches of ocean."

Hoturoa says the Tuia 250 Voyage has also helped bring to the forefront the names of tangata whenua often missing from stories told about the first encounters between Māori and Pākehā.

"Through Tuia, New Zealanders have been hearing and talking about people such as Te Maro and Koukou, alongside names such as Cook and Banks.

"This rebalancing of our history is an important step forwards, because through increased knowledge comes increased understanding."

Both co-chairs believe it’s important that we continue the korero that Tuia 250 has begun, after the Tuia 250 Voyage ends this weekend.

"Now that we’ve created this momentum, we must keep it going," says Hoturoa. "This weekend may signal the end of the Tuia 250 Voyage, but we must keep talking and learning to help us keep weaving our cultures together."

Updated on 15th January 2020