10 Oct 2019

PM opens Tuia 250 roadshow on traditional voyaging

7:03 pm on 10 October 2019

The rain has made its way over Tūranganui a Kiwa today - but that has not stopped people taking part in the activities.

PM Jacinda Ardern with Hoturoa Kerr at the Tuia 250 event.

PM Jacinda Ardern with Hoturoa Kerr at the Tuia 250 event. Photo: RNZ / Māni Dunlop

The Prime Minister opened the Tuia Mātauranga Roadshow this morning, which is a truck that has interactive resources to learn about traditional voyaging.

There is also an open day with the public able to go on board the waka hourua and va'a tipaerua from Tahiti - to talk to the skippers and learn more about the whakapapa of each waka.

A pop-up planeterium is available to the public to learn about celestial navigation.

Co-chair of Tuia 250 and master navigator, Hoturoa Kerr, said it's important that people learn the practicalities of what it's like to be on the water and bringing this matauranga to life.

"The significance of today is to give people a more practical first hand view of what the waka looks like and what amenities they offer, or don't offer.

"They have sailed thousands and thousands of miles and for people to come to something and walk on something, it falls out of a period of myth and legend and to be able to make it more of a realisation of what these people have done - I think it's a great thing."

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Photo: RNZ / Mani Dunlop

Hoturoa Kerr first met Tā Hekenukumai Busby in 1984 - and he learned from him, worked with him and now is among those carrying on his legacy.

He said Tā Hek was part of the very initial conversations in planning Tuia 250.

"He was really really supportive of myself, Jacko (Jack Thatcher) and Stan (Stan Conrad) to try and get our story out there to Aotearoa.

"We aren't trying to beat everyone up about being an ocean voyager but I certainly think everyone in Aotearoa will benefit in understanding not just his legacy but the legacy of the old explorers and travellers from 7 or 800 years ago."

It's something the prime minister strongly supports.

Jacinda Ardern said it's a key part of Aotearoa's history which is missing and now with both the resources set up with Tuia 250 and the government's recent announcement of teaching NZ history in schools - is changing.

"One of the things that was absent from school when I was learning about NZ history was that navigational history, if people can see just the knowledge that was passed from generation to generation using the stars, using the birds, even the whale in order to navigate the vast Pacific is incredible. Seeing that brought to life is fantastic."

Other events today including the local iwi run, Tūranga Hau Kōrero, a wānanga for people who are interested in hearing about the collision stories, the encounter stories of government and church representatives from the voices of Tuia Encounters 250 critics and supporters.

Another event, is Te Paepae o Tangaroa symposium about the ocean, with panelists from Tairāwhiti, Aotearoa and around the Moananui a Kiwa (Pacific) sharing knowledge and creating conversation around the challenges facing the waterways and coastlines.

Exhibition challenging commemorations opens in Gisborne

An exhibition showcasing Māori artists challenging the commemorations for the first arrival of James Cook has opened in Gisborne. Alongside Tuia 250 - a range of alternative events are underway.

The exhibition 'Native Voices, ko au, ko mātau' is a range of Māori artists responding to and challenging the commemorations.

Some of the pieces include a sculpture doing the fingers pointed at the Endeavour, and a video game about taking down the coloniser.

One of the artists says they are not sure which side to take over the controversy around Tuia 250, but say art is able to convey the conversations about Aotearoa's history.