Tuia 250 commemorations kick off in Coromandel

The Coromandel is celebrating the Tuia 250 commemorations, a national programme of events and education being expressed through music, storytelling, kapa haka, arts, and other cultural activities, around the country, as well as on the Coromandel.

There are a number of events happening in the district to commemorate and recognise the connections made by Maori communities Ngati Hei with Captain Cook and his crew upon their arrival in Mercury Bay in 1769, says the Thames Coromandel District Council.

At 7.30am ooday, the Tuia 250 Flotilla will entered Te Whanganui o Hei (Mercury Bay). T

he Flotilla is made up of six vessels, that will approach Mercury Bay in formation, with the HMB Endeavour (the replica of the original Endeavour) and Fa'afaite Va'a peeling off from the Flotilla and heading to Purangi/Cooks Beach where they will hold position for an hour during the Cooks Beach, "Beach Call", where the public are welcome to come down to the beach at the Central Reserve to watch the Endeavour and Fa'afaite Va'a sail past.

"The balance of the Flotilla will sweep along Mercury Bay and head to the north end of Wharekaho (Simpsons) Beach, to begin anchoring.

"Crews from the vessels will assemble on the foreshore and at 11.30am the manuhiri (voyagers, community members, dignitaries, visitors to the area), will gather at the north end of the beach and begin the1.2km hikoi.

"Members of the general public are welcome to join the hīkoi, however, participation in the official Powhiri is restricted to guests who have registered prior to this sold out event. In the afternoon, hangīi will be served followed by entertainment including kapa haka performances."

Te Powhiri is to acknowledge and commemorate the first amicable encounter between local iwi Ngati Hei and Captain James Cook and the Endeavour crew 250 years ago in Mercury Bay on the Coromandel.

The powhiri, a central part of Maori protocol, is a ceremony of welcome involving speeches, dancing, singing and hongi.

"If you are planning to attend any of the events make sure you read the safety tips and key messages seen below."

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