Celebrating a pivotal moment in history

Prime Minister and Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern has today announced the appointment of Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr as co-chair of the Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee commemorations.

Tuia-Encounters 250 was initiated in 2015 to mark next year’s 250th anniversary of the first meetings between Māori and Europeans during the 1769 voyage of James Cook and the HMS Endeavour.

“Mr Barclay-Kerr is a leading navigator, respected educationalist, waka hourua captain, and co-creator of A Waka Odyssey – the centrepiece of tonight’s 2018 New Zealand Festival launch. He is a welcome addition to the team.

“Along with co-chair Dame Jenny Shipley he brings the right experience and mana to achieve the aim of Tuia – to weave together and to ensure this national commemoration reflects who we are today and how we navigate our future together. It also acknowledges the extraordinary feats of Pacific voyagers who reached and settled in Aotearoa many years earlier.

“Preparations for the 2019 national commemoration are already well underway, led regionally by charitable trusts, iwi, hapū and local authorities in the four parts of New Zealand where Māori and Europeans first met – Tairāwhiti, the Bay of Islands, Coromandel and Marlborough. 

“The level of community ambition about what the commemoration could mean for their regions is growing. Iwi and community leaders, historians, artists and environmental leaders are developing regional event and legacy programmes that will have long term benefits for their communities.

“National components of Tuia 250 will include an opening ceremony in Gisborne in October 2019 and an impressive flotilla of historic and contemporary vessels which will travel to sites of significance for Pacific and European voyaging around New Zealand.

“As a new government we were keen to place extra focus on the role of the waka in the commemorations, and committed to ensuring all New Zealanders feel connected to and are proud to be part of those commemorations, especially that we use it to foster traditions that are unique to Aotearoa.”