Waka on the harbour

Tuia – Encounters 250, or Tuia 250, commemorated 250 years since the first onshore meetings between Māori – the tangata whenua of Aotearoa New Zealand – and Pākehā in 1769–70. Tuia 250 also celebrated the voyaging heritage of Pacific people that led to the settlement of Aotearoa New Zealand many generations before.


The themes shaping Tuia – Encounters 250

Naming our national commemoration

Meet the team


Tuia 250 provided a commemorative programme of experiences for encouraging honest conversations about the past, the present and how we navigate our shared future together. There were events, over 50 projects enriching communities and an education programme which took place nationwide.

The central event was the Tuia 250 Voyage. A flotilla made up of two waka hourua from Aotearoa, three tall ships including the Endeavour replica from Australia, and a va’a tipaerua from Tahiti, sailed the coast to engage with communities, iwi and hapū for three months from October to December 2019.

Three of these vessels used the non-instrument navigation methods Pacific voyagers have used for generations, guided by signs in the environment such as the position of the stars, moon and sun as well as the wind, swells and bird patterns. Explore more about celestial navigation in our Learn section. The opening events for the Tuia 250 Voyage were in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) from 5–8 October.

The themes shaping Tuia Encounters 250

The themes of the national commemoration were:

Dual Heritage – Shared Future: Presenting a balanced and honest historical narrative to better understand our relationships and build a strong foundation for a richer shared future.

Voyaging: Increasing awareness about Pacific, Māori and European voyaging and navigation techniques.

First meetings, migration and settlement: Considering their impact on contemporary society.

The arts, science, technology and mātauranga of two great voyaging traditions (Pacific and European): Understanding the innovation and skill that existed in 1769 and before that time.

Whakapapa and identity: Exploring our own stories and our common bond as voyagers to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Naming our national commemoration

The logo associated with the Tuia 250 name references waka hourua, tall ship rigging, Pacific binding and weaving, the shape of a hull and the interlacing of our dual heritage. The key font, ‘Bodoni’, was designed in the late 18th century.

Tuia – Encounters 250 was about the people and place of Aotearoa New Zealand – what brought us together, the challenges we face and how we will weave our cultures and values into a future we will be proud to leave for the next generations. The name Tuia – Encounters 250 is woven from a Pākehā concept of time (250 years) and the te reo Māori word ‘tuia’ – to weave or bind – and the whakataukī, Te Tangi a te Mātūī. This proverb tells of the intangible bonds established between people when they listen, unite and work together as one.

Te Tangi a te Mātūī

Kia whakarongo ake au
I listen

Ki te tangi a te manu nei
to the cry of the bird

A te Mātūī
The Mātūī

“Tūī, tūī, tuituia”
Calling, “Tūī, tūī, tuituia”

Tuia i runga
That it be woven above

Tuia i raro
as it is below

Tuia i waho
Woven without,

Tuia i roto
as it is within

Tuia i te here tāngata
Interwoven with the threads of humanity

Ka rongo te pō
Felt in innocence

Ka rongo te ao
And in consciousness

Tuia i te muka tāngata
Intertwined with the threads of humankind

Meet the team

Delivering a national commemorative programme of the scale of Tuia 250 takes dedicated organisation. Meet the team that brought you Tuia 250 , and you can also meet the vessels that made up the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla.

Meet the Minister responsible for Tuia – Encounters 250

Minister Davis and group

Hon Kelvin Davis (Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti) speaks at the Civic Ceremony held to welcome the formation of the full Tuia 250 flotilla on 8 October 2019.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given ministerial responsibility for Tuia – Encounters 250 to Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis. The first thing Minister Davis did in this role was to visit and engage with hapū and iwi hosting the voyaging crew and community events at the landing sites of the Tuia 250 Voyage.

In an opinion piece published by Stuff called ‘Tuia 250: Celebration or commemoration for anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival, he shared these views.

“I wanted to hear directly from communities, to understand their aspirations for the commemorations, to discuss how we can honour the legacy of our tupuna. As you travel the country hearing stories like these recounted, that rich history is eye-opening – and I want Māori to have the chance to tell the rest of New Zealand their story.”

He went on to say: “James Cook’s side of the story has been told for generations and has been celebrated many times in the past. Today, we are not the same country. We are ready to embrace that there was a thriving civilisation that existed in New Zealand when James Cook sailed to these shores. We are ready to tell an honest history of this country to better understand who we are and what we want for our country’s future – and that is one thing worth celebrating.”

Meet the team delivering Tuia – Encounters 250 nationally

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage was the lead government agency responsible for Tuia 250, collaborating with many local and central government agencies. The Ministry worked in partnership with hapū, iwi, charitable trusts and councils to coordinate commemorative activities in the communities at the Tuia 250 Voyage landing sites.

The wider Tuia – Encounters 250 programme of events and projects was developed and delivered by many other communities around the country.

Tuia – Encounters 250 National Coordinating Committee

Representatives of the regional charitable trusts, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Education and Department of Conservation made up the National Coordinating Committee. 

This group was responsible for connecting commemorative activity regionally and nationally, to ensure a cohesive and coordinated programme. The committee was co-chaired by Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr.

Co-chairs in Tahiti The co-chairs of the Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr (left) and Dame Jenny Shipley are pictured in Tahiti in August 2019 when they helped send off Fa’afaite on its journey across the Pacific when the Tuia 250 Voyage began.

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, of Tainui descent, is the kaihautū/kaitiaki (guardian) of the oceangoing waka Haunui. Hoturoa has been sailing Te Moananui (the Pacific Ocean) for over 35 years and gained experience with master navigator Mau Piailug. He has also worked alongside Hekenukumai Puhipi, Nainoa Thompson, Clay Bertlemann and other navigators of Te Moananui. Hoturoa lectured at Waikato University for almost 20 years, but more recently has specialised in education and leadership programmes that use waka as a platform for learning and development.

He co-authored the book Wayfinding Leadership: Ground-breaking Wisdom for Developing Leaders and has written many publications on waka navigation, safety and knowledge. In 2016 he won the award Te Tohu Toi Kē a Te Waka Toi in recognition of his leadership and contribution to Māori arts. Hoturoa was one of the directors of A Waka Odyssey, the major voyaging event that opened the New Zealand Festival in 2018.

Dame Jenny Shipley is a director, speaker, patron and mentor. She was New Zealand’s first female prime minister, from 1997 to 1999, and held a number of senior ministerial positions in preceding years. In 2002 she retired from politics and returned to work in the business and community sectors.

Dame Jenny has a strong personal interest in New Zealand’s history, our dual heritage and in exploring ways to bring the Treaty of Waitangi to life. She is passionate about supporting and working with leaders who are committed to advancing inclusion, who value and respect diversity and who have the courage and competence to lead in shaping the future of their communities and their country.

Dame Jenny Shipley talks to Māori Television about how Tuia 250 is a balanced celebration of our voyaging heritage, about the intertwining of our dual heritage today and about the opportunities the commemoration gives us for forging our shared future.

Meet the teams delivering Tuia – Encounters 250 in the regions

Work on the commemoration in the regions began as early as 2013 for many dedicated hapū, iwi, schools, councils and Tuia 250 charitable trusts.

Watch the Tōtaranui 250 Trust’s video introducing Tuia – Encounters 250 in Marlborough, including a description of the collaborative approach taken by several iwi to deliver the commemorative programme, as is also happening in other regions.

Between October and December 2019, the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla visited sites of significance around the country, acknowledging places of importance to Pacific voyaging and arrivals in Aotearoa, and to the first onshore encounters between Māori and Pākehā 250 years ago.

Communities at these sites worked closely with Manatū Taonga to plan commemorative events, education and community projects reflecting their local needs and aims – for 2019 and beyond. These communities were:

  • Whangaparaoa / Cape Runaway
  • Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Gisborne
  • Ūawa / Tolaga Bay
  • Whitianga / Mercury Bay
  • Maraetai
  • Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland
  • Whangārei
  • Pēwhairangi / Bay of Islands
  • Waitohi / Picton
  • Wairau Te Waiharakeke / Blenheim
  • Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington
  • Whakaraupō / Lyttelton
  • Te Māhia.

Watch the Te Hā 1769 Sestercentennial Trust’s video which talks about how the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Endeavour is seen as a commemoration rather than a celebration in Tairāwhiti (Gisborne).

Visit the websites of the four charitable trusts that worked closely with Manatū Taonga on Tuia 250, established in the regions of Aotearoa New Zealand where Māori and Pākehā met during the Endeavour’s 1769-70 voyage:

  • Pēwhairangi / Bay of Islands: Te Au Mārie 1769 Sestercentennial Charitable Trust
  • Whitianga / Mercury Bay: Mercury 250th Anniversary Trust
  • Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Gisborne: Te Hā 1769 Sestercentennial Trust
  • Waitohi / Picton: Tōtaranui 250 Trust



Te Au Mārie 1769 Sestercentennial Trust  logo Mercury 250 Trust logo Tōtaranui 250 Trust  logo Te Hā 1769 Sestercentennial Trust logo
Te Toki Voyaging Trust logo Australian National Maritime Museum logo R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust  logo Tahiti Voyaging Society  logo Spirit of Adventure Trust logo Te Kura o ngā Kurī a Tarawhata logo


Whangaparaoa/Cape Runaway | Anaura Bay | Tūranga/Gisborne | Ūawa/Tolaga Bay | Whitianga/Mercury Bay | Maraetai | Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland

Whangārei/Port Nikau | Pēwhairangi/Bay of Islands/Opua | Waitohi/Picton | Wairau Te  Waiharakeke/Blenheim | Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington | Whakaraupō/Lyttelton | Te Māhia

Contact the Tuia 250 team:
[email protected]
Contact for media enquiries:
[email protected] | 027 622 0468
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