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Tuia – Encounters 250 national commemoration

Jack Thatcher – pwo navigator and kaitiaki of the Tuia 250 Voyage – captains his waka hourua (double hulled voyaging canoe) Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti.

Tuia – Encounters 250 commemorates the 250th anniversary, or sestercentennial, of the first onshore meetings between Māori – the tangata whenua of Aotearoa New Zealand – and Pākehā in 1769-70. Tuia – Encounters 250 also celebrates the voyaging heritage of Pacific people that led to the settlement of Aotearoa New Zealand generations before.

Tuia – Encounters 250, or Tuia 250, is a commemorative programme of experiences for encouraging honest conversations about the past, the present, and how we navigate our shared future together. There are many events, over 50 projects enriching communities and an education programme happening nationwide right now. Find out how you can join the journey.

The central event is 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, will sail the coast for three months from October to December.

Three of these vessels will use non-instrument navigation methods Pacific voyagers have used for generations, guided by signs in the natural environment such as the position of the stars, moon and sun as well as the wind, swells and bird patterns. Explore more in our Learn section.

The opening events for the Tuia 250 Voyage will be held in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) from 5–8 October.

The themes shaping Tuia Encounters 250

The themes of the national commemoration are:

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.

Read more about Tuia – Encounters 250 in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Naming our national commemoration

Tuia – Encounters 250 is 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.

The logo associated with the Tuia – Encounters 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.  

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
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