Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
  • Hon Kelvin Davis
Prime Minister Arts, Culture and Heritage Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti

New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne.

“Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 years ago,” Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis said.

“Our tūpuna travelled thousands of kilometres across the Pacific Ocean using their knowledge of the winds and currents and navigating using signs in nature.

“These same techniques were used by the crew of the va’a Fa’afaite to bring our friends here from Tahiti to join the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla on its journey around New Zealand,” Kelvin Davis said.

“Today is an historic opportunity for the whole of New Zealand to celebrate the navigational feats of Paikea, Ikaroa-a-Rauru, Horouta, Tereanini and Takitimu,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“We also commemorate heroes of traditional Pacific voyaging such as Tahitian master navigator and priest Tupaia who was an important communicator and mediator between Māori and Cook, and Tā Hekenukumai Busby for his immense contributions to the revival of Pacific voyaging techniques.

“I look forward to attending a wide range of events over the next few days alongside New Zealanders as together we grow our understanding of traditions, people and our history,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Tuia 250 is a national commemoration acknowledging 250 years since the first onshore encounters between Māori and Pākeha and celebrating 1000 years of voyaging heritage.

The flotilla of va’a tipaerua, waka hourua (double-hulled canoes) and sailing ships will voyage together to 14 sites of significance around the country.

Notes to editor:

  • People are invited to join Tūranga iwi in the Pōhiri Te Wai-o-Hiharore from 10.45am to 2.30pm.
  • New Zealanders everywhere can watch the live broadcast of the arrival of the waka on TV1 from 10am – 1pm, hosted by John Campbell, Stacey Morrison and Matai Smith. This coverage will be replayed later in the day on Māori Television.
  • Mō te roanga ake o ngā korero:
  • Learn more and find the full programme of events from now until December at: