Kids in a boat

Spirit of New Zealand Trainees head back to the ship. November 2019. More than 500 Tuia 250 Trainees had the experience of a lifetime aboard a vessel in the flotilla.

The Tuia 250 commemoration has left a legacy for future generations.

The legacy has been created through voyaging and encounters education and conversations that took place during the commemoration, through new physical markers and signage at sites of significance, through the changing of place names to reflect dual heritage, and through the healing that has occurred in communities and the strengthening of relationships.


The thousands of New Zealanders who participated in the Tuia 250 Voyage education activities including  Open Vessels, the Tuia 250 Trainee programme and the Tuia Mātauranga Roadshow, as well as dozens of community projects around the country, have learnt more about the history of Aotearoa from both Māori and Pakehā perspective.

Schools used Tuia kits to discuss perspectives in our history, and ran their own programmes to mark the commemoration. The commitment by the Government to make teaching New Zealand history compulsory will carry on this learning.

Museums hosted public conferences and new exhibitions that supported the Tuia kaupapa.

For example, the University of Otago hosted the Encounters and Exchange conference, the Russell Museum created the Mapping our Stories project to collect local histories, the Auckland War Memorial Museum staged the Voyage to Aotearoa: Tupaia and the Endeavour exhibition, and the New Zealand Maritime Museum presented ‘Takiri: An Unfurling’.

There was a large contribution from the arts community. Artworks were created in response to Tuia 250 to discuss the first encounters and themes such as colonisation, for example Tairawhiti Museum’s Native Voices Ko Au, Ko Mātau. The creation of Tupaia’s Endeavour into a feature film was also supported by Tuia 250.

International, national and local media coverage also helped promote the stories of waka, sailing, first encounters and community histories.

Tamariki from across the country were able to use virtual reality to learn about waka and navigation in the Tuia Mātauranga Roadshow during the Tuia 250 Voyage.

Waka revitalisation

The Tuia 250 Voyage exposed New Zealanders to waka culture and history, a huge part of our nation’s collective history. Navigators and crews were given a platform to share their mātauranga or knowledge with the public.

Tuia-supported initiatives such as the Rātā Waka Symposium brought together waka builders and carvers from Tahiti, Hawaii and Aotearoa, also promoted the waka building skills needed to continue the waka legacy.

Waka at Māhia Beach, December 2019: (from left) Te Matau A Maui, Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti, Fa'afaite and Haunui.

Markers at sites of significance

Sites of significance to New Zealand history now have physical markers and signs to tell the stories of these places.

Pou Whenua

The pou whenua Te Pou ki Taihere o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa on Moturua Island, Bay of Islands, carved by Rāwhiti-based carver Hohepa Hemara, unveiled by Teva Teihotaata of the Tahitian waka Fa’afaite. Teva is pictured with Kipa Munro of Ngāti Rēhia. Credit: Heritage New Zealand. 

For example, a pou on Moturua Island overlooking Mangahawea Bay was erected to acknowledge the connection of this early settlement site with the Pacific. The installation of sculptures, including of Te Maro at Puhi Kai Iti Cook Landing Site National Historic Reserve and Ruatanuika lookout, were completed in time for the Tuia 250 Opening Ceremonies in Tūranga/ Gisborne, celebrating important iwi figures and voyaging traditions.

A memorial for Ngāti Oneone tupuna/ ancestor Te Maro stands on Kaiti Hill in Tūranga/ Gisborne.

Dual heritage place names

The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) contributed to Tuia 250 by identifying and researching the stories for just over 200 place names given during Lieutenant James Cook’s first voyage around our shores. They included original Māori place names.

A number of places that were named during Cook’s voyages to New Zealand have been given dual heritage place names by restoring their original Māori name. For example, Poverty Bay was changed officially to Tūranganui-a-Kiwa/ Poverty Bay in October 2018. This change reflects the oral history of the Bay being the ‘long-standing place of Kiwa’.

Healing relationships

Engagement between the Crown and local iwi and hapū in the spirit of Tuia has helped to heal and strengthen relationships. The anniversary of the first encounters in Tūranga prompted events such as the expression of regret given by the British High Commissioner to the descendants of those killed in Tūranga/ Gisborne during Cook’s first voyage, and the return of taonga on loan to local community by European museums.

Around the country, many communities, iwi and hapū shared their histories with representatives of the Government, as well as the wider New Zealand public, deepening our understanding of one another.

It is hoped that the concept of Tuia – weaving people together for a shared future – can be used as we look ahead to the 200th anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the 2040.

British High Commissioner Laura Clarke and Ngāti Oneone Chair Charlotte Gibson at the Open Ceremony for Tuia 250 in Tūranga/ Gisborne, 8 October 2019.



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]
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