In 2019, a national commemoration – Tuia Encounters 250 – will mark 250 years since the first meetings between Maori and Europeans during Captain James Cook and the Endeavour’s 1769 voyage to New Zealand.
The Department of Internal Affairs has announced that $9 million of funding will be available for community projects that align with the kaupapa of Tuia Encounters 250 through the Lottery Environment and Heritage Fund.
Preparations for the Coromandel are already underway thanks to the Mercury 250 Trust. The trust has been formed to bring together individuals, community groups, event organisers and businesses willing to have input into Tuia commemorations for the region, which was one of the four main landing sites for Cook during his visit to New Zealand.
"This is a fantastic development and the trust look forward to people or organisations interested in becoming involved in this commemoration getting in touch with us about the $9 million funding so we can align projects and events together," says Mercury Bay 250 Trust chair Paul Kelly.
"Some things we are working on include public art installations, heritage trails, signage and commemorative pieces that represent this founding event in our history, and also celebrate the inspiring Pacific and European traditions that our nation has emerged from," says Paul.
“Iwi involvement is also paramount in Tuia commemorations and Joe Davis from Ngati Hei is also working on a powhiri re-enactment during the official commemorations."
The co-chairs of the Tuia Encounters 250 national coordinating committee Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay Kerr have welcomed the fund, saying: “The Tuia Encounters 250 commemoration will give every New Zealander a chance to learn more about the people and events that shaped Aotearoa New Zealand, to share their stories of their voyaging and navigation heritage, the encounters they have had on the way and their hopes for the future.
“Exciting plans are underway and momentum is growing, particularly in the four locations of Gisborne Tairawhiti, the Bay of Islands, Coromandel and Marlborough where Europeans and Māori first met 250 years ago in October 1769.
“This fund will help people all over the country get involved to bring to life the Tuia experience trail of great events and the development of legacy projects.
“We want to extend the commemoration’s reach as far as possible and ensure every New Zealander has an opportunity to explore New Zealanders stories, to listen, to talk and to share through Tuia Encounters 250.”