Tuia Encounters 250 commemorations and planning for Te Pōwhiri in Mercury Bay 06 November 2018 As plans to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's 1769 voyage to New Zealand progress, the Swedish Ambassador to New Zealand, Par Ahlberger, and the Honorary Swedish Consul to Auckland paid a visit to Whitianga to acknowledge their country's connection to the historic Cook visit. Frank Olsson Swedish Consul (honorary) to Auckland on the leftH.E. Pär Ahlberger, (Par Ahlberger) Ambassador of Sweden to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific on the right. Photo credit Mercury Bay Informer. Swedish botanist Dr Daniel Solander was on board Cook's ship the Endeavour in its voyage to New Zealand. 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. 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, which has been formed to celebrate and acknowledge the two great voyaging traditions which brought two cultures together. The Mercury 250 Anniversary Trust is honouring the Tuia Encounters 250 commemorations by hosting a Te Pōwhiri/welcoming ceremony. Te Pōwhiri is to recognise and acknowledge the welcome from Ngati Hei and Ngati Whanaunga to Captain Cook and his crew’s arrival. The first powhiri between European and Maori took place in November 1769 at Wharekaho. Te Pōwhiri also celebrates the movement from conflict to resolution. On Cook’s first voyage, Ngati Hei welcomed the navigator and showed them their pa on the headland at Wharekaho. With one year to go until the 250th anniversary, anyone interested in being involved in the commemorations in the Coromandel is invited to get in touch with the Mercury 250 Anniversary Trust. Visit their website for more information on Tuia Encounters 250 for Mercury Bay.