Tuia 250 flotilla reaches final stop in Hawke's Bay

5:06 pm on 15 December 2019

A flotilla's 10-week voyage retracing the first encounters between Māori and Pākehā came to a close today.

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A replica of James Cook's ship Endeavour arrives in Wellington. Photo: Ministry of Culture and Heritage / Supplied

Waka and tall ships have been travelling along the coast since the start of October, as part of the Tuia 250 voyage.

The voyage began at Whangaparaoa / Cape Runaway and has stopped along the east coast of the North Island and part of the South.

The flotilla made its final stop at the Māhia Peninsula.

The co-chair of the Tuia 250 coordinating committee, Dame Jenny Shipley, said Te Māhia was the landing site for ancestral waka so it's fitting that it is also the last stop for the voyage.

"The Māhia Peninsula is also where Aotearoa is embracing the space age, in the form of the Rocket Lab launch pad, so as we look up at the night sky there will be a great sense of connection both to our past and the future," she said.

"We can recognise the ingenuity of the first settlers, who used the stars to guide them to our shores, alongside the ingenuity of those who are reaching out into space as part of the next phase of this nation's history."

Listen to Jenny Shipley's interview about Tuia 250 on Morning Report

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, who is the other co-chair, said Māori achieved feats of navigation and voyaging that even today are considered incredible.

"An important aim of Tuia 250 has been to highlight the history of Aotearoa's settlement. To do this, the Tuia 250 Voyage has been visiting sites of ancestral significance for tangata whenua," he said.

A festival kicked off after midday.

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