Tuia 250 Encounters

A traditional vaka left Tahiti last month for New Zealand with its crew retracing the pathways of their Pacific ancestors.

The Tahitian double-hulled canoe, Fa’afaite, was part of a flotilla formed to recognize the first encounters between Māori and Pakeha in New Zealand 250 years ago.

But the initiative, dubbed Tuia 250, is also exploring the ancestral routes Polynesian navigators sailed in the Pacific. The Tuia – Encounters 250  is also a program of events, education and over 50 projects enriching communities nationwide. It celebrates Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pacific voyaging heritage and acknowledges the first onshore encounters between Māori and Pākehā in 1769–70.

The theme for Tuia 250 is: Tuia te muka tangata ki uta– “Weaving people together for a shared future.”


The chair of Tuia 250’s governing committee, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, said the voyage would highlight the importance of Pacific discoverers. “The first arrivals of explorers and discoverers from out of the Pacific, like Maui and Kupe and people like that who first came to Aotearoa, and then the subsequent arrivals of those people,” Mr Barclay-Kerr said.

“So this voyage with the waka departing Tahiti is actually a chance to bring those kinds of journeys to general conversation and a general awareness.”

Follow the Tuia 250 Voyage

The central event is the Tuia 250 Voyage – a journey of national significance showcasing the Pacific, Māori and European voyaging that brought us together. A flotilla of waka hourua, va’a tipaerua and tall ships sails the coast from October to December 2019, landing at community events where you can visit the vessels. Use the interactive tracker to follow the flotilla on the Website.

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Visit the vessels

Learn about Pacific, Māori and European sailing and navigation traditions with interactive activities, displays and guest speakers at these locations. The vessels in the flotilla will be open for you to go onboard. This schedule will be updated with any changes due to weather and sea conditions. Check the Website periodically for any changes.

Whangaparaoa / Cape Runaway 28 – 30 September
Anaura Bay 3 – 4 October
Tūranga / Gisborne 5 – 10/11 October
Ūawa / Tolaga Bay 12 – 13/16 October
Whitianga / Mercury Bay 18 – 21 October
Maraetai 22 – 24 October
Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland 25 – 28/29 October
Whangārei / Port Nikau 2 – 4 November
Pēwhairangi / Bay of Islands / Opua 8 – 11 November
Waitohi / Picton 21 – 26 November
Wairau Te Waiharakeke / Blenheim 26 – 28 November
Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington 30 November – 3 December
Whakaraupō / Lyttelton 6 – 10 December
Te Māhia 15 – 19 December
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