A key aim of the commemoration is to help New Zealanders learn more about our dual histories and great voyaging traditions. While some of these stories are well known, others have been seldom heard.

Here you will find some useful links and resources to the central themes in Tuia – Encounters 250.

Pacific voyaging and migration

The world’s first seafarers set off from South-East Asia, sailing into the Pacific simple rafts. Thousands of years later their Polynesian descendants began exploring further east, guided by the stars and the winds. How did they survive these journeys into the unknown? And when did they discover Aotearoa, the final major land mass? 

Learn more about Pacific / Māori voyaging and migration at Te Ara

Hear from Pacific navigators at The Canoe is the People

Watch a brief history of waka voyaging at Kaupapa On The Couch: Get on the waka!

Find out more about the UNESCO sponsored Waka Odyssey education programme in the above UNESCO NZ video.


Tupaia was a Tahitian high priest and navigator who played a pivotal role in during Lieutenant James Cook’s first visit to New Zealand in 1769. Who was Tupaia and why did he choose to come aboard the Endeavour?

Learn more about Tupaia at Te Ara

Watch Tupaia’s Endevour, a three documentary series Directed by Lala Rolls about Tupaia

Listen to Director and Producer, Lala Rolls and artist Michel Tuffery talk to Kathryn Ryan about Tupaia

James Cook

James Cook was a naval officer, cartographer, navigator, explorer and the first European to set foot on New Zealand, during his 1769 voyage to the South Pacific. Who was James Cook and what was he really searching for?

Learn more about Captain James Cook at Te Ara

Watch the above NZ On Screen documentary - Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant, James Cook, made as part of the 1969 bicenntenial.

Dual history of navigation and migration

Since Aotearoa was discovered and settled by Māori in 1200AD, there have been many voyages to and from New Zealand and migration throughout the country.

Watch the history of Māori arrivals from 1200, European arrivals from 1642 and the signing of He Whakaputanga from 1835 to 1839.

First peoples in Māori tradition

Māori have many oral traditions about ancient peoples and gods who inhabited New Zealand from the beginning of time. This collective knowledge is central to the experience and identity of the tangata whenua – the people of the land.

Learn more about first peoples and oral traditions at Te Ara

Maps and navigation

European and Pacific voyagers used different ways of navigating to and mapping the places they found. For Pacific people, routes were preserved in memory or recorded in song and navigators were guided by the night skies. Europeans created detailed paper maps based on scientific measurements and observations.

Learn more about star navigation at Te Ara

View James Cook’s 1773 map of New Zealand, part of the National Library’s Unfolding the Map Exhibition

View 1793 Tuki Te Terenui’s map of New Zealand, one of the earliest known maps drawn by a Māori

View Tupaia’s 1769 chart of islands in the South Pacific

Updated on 11th October 2018