Government invests in Tuia - Encounters 250 commemoration

  • Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Arts, Culture and Heritage

Tuia – Encounters 250, the national commemoration which will mark 250 years since the first onshore meetings between Māori and Europeans has been given a $3.5 million funding boost, Acting Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni announced today.

“This commemoration will acknowledge this pivotal moment in our nation’s history when James Cook and Tahitian chief and navigator Tupaia arrived on the Endeavour in 1769. Likewise, it will recognise the extraordinary feats of Pacific voyagers who reached and settled in Aotearoa many years earlier,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The additional funding will support a national voyaging event, the scale of which is unprecedented.  The voyage, which will take place from October to December 2019 visiting up to 19 communities across Aotearoa, will involve a flotilla of vessels including waka hourua, a Tahitian vaka, tall ships and the New Zealand Navy. Government is also working to secure the Endeavour replica as part of the flotilla.

“The event will promote the exceptional feats of Pacific, Māori and European voyaging that brought us together as a nation and provide us with an opportunity to reflect on our history of migration and settlement. 

Tuia 250 will enable communities across the country to share the distinctive stories of their regions – giving voice to seldom heard accounts of our past to engage and inspire current and future generations.

“Up to 600 young people will have the opportunity to be involved while the vessels are at sea, and there will be both a national education programme for schools, led by the Ministry of Education, and a supporting community education programme.”

The regional commemoration programmes are being developed and delivered by four charitable trusts in the four areas of Aotearoa New Zealand where Māori and Europeans first met during the 1769 voyage: Te Hā 1769 Sestercentennial Trust in Gisborne/Tairāwhiti; Te Au Mārie 1769 Sestercentennial Charitable Trust in the Bay of Islands, Te Tai Tokerau/Northland; Mercury 250th Anniversary Trust in the Coromandel; and Tōtaranui 250 Trust in Marlborough.

$13.5 million has been committed in total to the commemoration, with an additional $9m available for community-led events and projects that align with the Tuia 250 kaupapa through the Lottery Tuia Encounters 250 fund.

“Preparations for the commemoration are well underway.  Iwi, community leaders, historians, artists and environmental leaders are developing regional events and legacy programmes that will have long-term benefits for their communities.

“There will be many opportunities for people to get involved and I encourage all New Zealanders to take part in their local commemoration events next year,” Carmel Sepuloni said.