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Tuia - Encounters 250 commemoration events

09 January 2019

Commemorations marking the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s 1769 voyage to New Zealand start will start in March and are being expressed through music, storytelling, kapa haka, arts, and other cultural activities on the Coromandel.

The national Tuia – 250 Encounters celebrates and recognises the connections made by the maori communities from Ngati Hei and Ngati Whanaunga to Captain Cook and his crew’s arrival.

Te Whanganui o Hei/ Mercury Bay is one of the four landing sites in Aotearoa/New Zealand where Europeans and Maori first met 250 years ago in October 1769.

The Mercury Bay Anniversary 250 Trust has been formed to bring together individuals, community groups, event organisers and businesses willing to have input into Tuia commemorations. The Trust is helping to honour the Tuia Encounters 250 commemorations by hosting a Te Pōwhiri/welcoming ceremony.

Activities for Te Powhiri include the Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust's community street art festival happening from the 4 - 8 March 2019 in Whitianga. The Mercury Bay Art Escape is featuring a series of 12 murals casting Te Whanganui a Hei (Mercury Bay) reflecting the “First Encounters”.

In April, Tola, performing “Ka Tito Au; Kupe’s Heroic Journey” has been confirmed by Creative Mercury Bay to be performing twice on 5 April. This is a solo show written by Apirana Taylor and commissioned by NZ festival as part of A Waka Odyssey, the festival’s celebration of the shared Pacific voyaging past and future. You can see them on Eventfinda here.

On 5 April the solo show, written by Apirana Taylor, will be performed which is commissioned by NZ festival as part of A Waka Odyssey, the festival’s celebration of the shared Pacific voyaging past and future.

Meanwhile, in March, students and teachers from Mercury Bay Area School will participate in the Ngati Hei Cultural Outreach programme preparing them with powhiri choreography for the major commemoration ceremony in October.

Is it expected that Te Powhiri at Wharekaho, Simpsons Beach will capture much attention on Friday 18 October followed with a Karanga delivered by Ngati Hei representatives at Purangi Reserve, Cooks Beach in the afternoon.The Welcoming is planned for 19 October. The outdoor performance stage, "The Tuia Stage"  located at Taylor’s Mistake in Whitianga opens on 20 October.

These October events are free for the public to enjoy, thanks to the Lotteries Tuia Programme for funding these events. Activities also include a special composition by Charles Royal, performed by James Webster and friends, incorporating taonga puoro, traditional Maori instruments.

The Coromandel weavers will also feature their art and demonstrate their talents next to the Tuia stage.

The local newspaper, the Mercury Bay Informer and Richardson’s Real Estate are sponsoring a sand art competition on the Saturday of Labour Weekend. The competition is at Cooks Beach in the vicinity of the Banks Street Reserve. A carnival will be running at the same time with food stalls and live entertainment at the reserve. For more information on these events, information can be found here.

Tahitian vaka, Māori waka hourua, European tall ships and navy vessels will also be in Mercury Bay as they sail to significant landing sites around the country.

Anyone interested in becoming more involved in the celebrations and other activities taking place are encouraged to get in touch with the Mercury 250 Anniversary Trust. Visit their website for more information on Tuia Encounters 250 for Mercury Bay.


Tuia commemorations around the country

Commemorations are also being planned in Gisborne,/Tairāwhiti, the Bay of Islands/Te Tai Tokarau and Marlborough/Totaranui. Nationally, the anniversary commemorations are taking place under the banner of Tuia Encounters 250. Tuia Encounters 250 enhances the reputation of Aotearoa through promoting the two great voyaging traditions which brought two cultures together.