Hands pulling ropes on a Tahitian vessel

On this page you can find out about the Tuia 250 Voyage which took place from October to December 2019.

About the Tuia 250 Voyage

The Voyage schedule

Meet the vessels

Voyage trainees

About the Tuia 250 Voyage

In October to December 2019, thousands of people around the country cast their gaze to Te Moananui a Kiwa – the mighty Pacific Ocean – from the shores of Aotearoa New Zealand, and were treated to the sight of the Tuia 250 Voyage – a journey of national significance.

Crews on two waka hourua from Aotearoa, three tall ships including the Endeavour replica from Australia, and the va’a tipaerua Fa’afaite from Tahiti sailed to and engaged with 14 communities.

The Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla landed at sites of historic and cultural significance giving a platform to communities, iwi and hapū to share their stories of arrival and their encounters with Tupaia, James Cook and the Endeavour crew.

And in an experience of a lifetime, hundreds of New Zealanders from all over the country were accepted as Tuia 250 Voyage Trainees to learn new skills voyaging on board a Tuia 250 flotilla vessel.

On land, vessel crews and communities shared stories and taught the public about Pacific, Māori and European sailing and navigation.

The family-friendly events in many regions included a pop-up stardome, the Tuia Mātauranga Roadshow and a chance to get onboard the vessels.

The Voyage schedule

The vessels visited a number of towns and ports, and a you can download the full schedule here (PDF).

The progress of the flotilla vessels could be followed online with this interactive tracker.

Meet the vessels

There were six vessels in the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla, showcasing the Pacific, Māori and European voyaging traditions that brought us together. There are three waka and three tall ships:

Va’a Tipaerua

Fa’afaite, a double-hulled voyaging canoe from Tahiti representing the origin of our Pacific people, as well as representing Tupaia as an important communicator and mediator between Māori and Cook.

This vessel is the main asset of Fa’afaite-Tahiti Voyaging Society, a non-profit organization created in 2009. Its goal: to help the renewal of ancestral navigation, without instrument. Fa’afaite means reconciliation, which reflects our desire to reconcile man with nature, his culture and his ancestral roots. The organisation is part of a local network, bringing together more than 20 cultural and environmental protection associations. Explore the Fa’afaite in 3D.

The Fa’afaite voyaging canoe

Vessel name Fa’afaite – from the Tahiti Voyaging Society – travelling from Pape’ete, Tahiti return
Gross tonnage 14 tons
Full dimensions Length: 22m   Beam: 6.5m  Draft: 2.10m
Year built 2009 (TBC)
Flag Cook Islands
Certifying authority / class Novelship / Recreational vessel
Power 220v AC

Waka hourua

Waka hourua represent Māori and their voyaging and trading capability, where they came and went from New Zealand, the great fleets, and subsequent voyagers right up until today, demonstrating the blue water sailing capability of Maori both historically and currently.

Haunui – This waka hourua was originally given the name Va’atele and made for American Samoa. His maiden voyage was from American Samoa to Samoa in 2009, however when a tsunami hit the island the waka was damaged and left. When Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr took responsibility of the waka through the Te Toki Voyaging Trust, it was renamed ‘Haunui’. More about the story of Haunui: tetokiwakahourua.org or explore the vessel in 3D here

The Haunui waka hourua

Vessel name Haunui – from Te Toki Voyaging Trust – travelling from Auckland, New Zealand return
Gross tonnage 11 tonnes
Full dimensions Length: 22m, Beam: 6.5m, Draft: 0.5m (without centreboards) to 1.7m (with centreboards down).
Year built 2009
Flag New Zealand [NZ]
Certifying authority / class Authority Class: Maritime NZ Part 40G Novelship (MNZ 135064)
Area of operation: Unlimited / Certified Passenger ship: CAT 1
Power 220 AC

Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti – In 2000, Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi (Sir Hector Busby) began the build of a second waka hourua Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti, named after his late wife, with a view to ‘closing the Polynesian Triangle’ by sailing to Rapa Nui (Easter Island). This vessel was part of the Waka Tapu voyage in 2012, departing Auckland and sailing 10,000 nautical miles return to Rapa Nui, before returning to Doubtless Bay on the east coast of the Northland region. Read more about Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti and the Waka Tapu project. Explore Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti in 3D       

The Ngahiraka waka hourua

Vessel name Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti –  from Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust – travelling from Tauranga, New Zealand return
Gross tonnage 9 tonnes
Full dimensions Length: 15.8m Beam: 4.8m  Draft: 0.5 – 1.7m
Year built 2005
Flag New Zealand [NZ]
Certifying authority / class Maritime NZ Part 40G Novelship
Power 2x12 Volt house batteries and charges starter battery for outboard. Outboard motor is wired to give batteries top up charge. House batteries can be run in parallel and series

Tall Ships

The HMB Endeavour replica represents the original Endeavour, as well as the Royal Society’s commitment in 1760’s to explore the world and map land to further understand navigational capability, including observing the transit of Venus and other scientific enquiries that form some basis of our knowledge today. The R. Tucker Thompson and  Spirit of New Zealand will represent both trading and voyaging capability and the subsequent migration that occurred as a result of those first onshore encounters.

HMB Endeavour – Construction of the Endeavour replica began in 1988 in Western Australia and the ship was launched five years later. Since then, she has sailed more than 170,000 nautical miles twice around the world, visited 29 countries and many Pacific islands, and opened as a museum in 116 ports.

More: https://www.sea.museum/whats-on/vessels/hmb-endeavour. Explore HMB Endeavour in 3D                    

HMS Endeavour

Vessel name HMB Endeavour – from the Australian National Maritime Museum – travelling from Sydney, Australia return
Gross tonnage 397 tonnes
Full dimensions Length Overall x Breadth Extrstronge: 44m × 9m.Length: 43.6 m (143 ft), bowsprit to stern/Beam: 9.28 m (30.4 ft)
Height:  28 m (92 ft) mainmast / Draught: 3.4 m (11 ft)
Year built 1994
Flag Australia [AU]
Certifying authority / class Australian Maritime Safety Authority

R. Tucker Thompson – The traditional gaff-rigged schooner was started by R. Tucker Thompson in the late 1970s as a project to embody the best features of a traditional design, married to the materials of today. She has a very high reputation in the traditional sailing world and is considered a perfect example of a working Tall Ship with the advantage of being new and safe. The R. Tucker Thompson is operated by a not-for-profit charitable trust. All income derived from tourism sailing activities are used for her maintenance, as well as providing a contribution to help Northland youth access the sail training voyages. In this way, the ship can continue to provide pleasure and learning to people of all ages; young and old, Māori and Pākehā, visitors and Northlanders alike.

More about R. Tucker Thompson: https://tucker.co.nz/. Explore R. Tucker Thompson in 3D

R. Tucker Thompson

Vessel name R Tucker Thompson – from the R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust – travelling from the Bay of Islands return
Gross tonnage 44 tonnes – approved to carry up to 49 passengers within Inshore Waters, 12 Nautical Miles of the coast from North Cape to East Cape.
Full dimensions Length: 17.8m, Beam: 4.88m, Draft: 2.6m
Year built  1985
Flag New Zealand [NZ]
Certifying authority / class Maritime NZ / passenger vessel / number 100492

Spirit of New Zealand – The Spirit is a three-masted barquentine and is believed to be the world’s busiest youth training ship. She is at sea for more than 300 days a year and is owned by the Spirit of Adventure Trust.  The Trust’s mission is to empower a diverse range of young Kiwis to reach their full potential through the challenge of the sea. Ongoing research by Otago University has fully endorsed the positive outcomes the Trust’s programme achieves for young people, their families and their communities.

Read more about the Spirit of New Zealand. Explore Spirit of New Zealand in 3D

Spirit of NZ

Vessel name Spirit of New Zealand – from Spirit of Adventure Trust – travelling from Auckland, New Zealand return
Gross tonnage 184 tonnes (gross registered) – 55.32 (net tonnage)
Full dimensions Length: 45.2m, Beam: 10m, Draft: 4m (Legal overall length on deck 33.25m)
Year built 1986
Flag New Zealand [NZ]
Certifying authority / class Maritime NZ 875169 (MNZ 100620), Anti-foul current
Power 12v and 24v DC and 230v AC

Tuia 250 Voyage Trainees

New Zealanders from all over the country sailed aboard the Tuia 250 flotilla. More than 500 free trainee berths were given to New Zealanders 16 and over, as well as secondary school students nominated by their schools.

People from all over the country – including the areas the flotilla was not visiting – were given equal opportunity to join the journey. 

The Trainees were assigned to different vessels on voyage legs lasting from one day to two weeks, with voyaging and cultural training before they departed.

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage funded the trainee berths, but trainees met their own travel and accommodation costs before and after sailing. 




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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