About Te Powhiri Te Whanganui o Hei 2019


He rae ki te rae, he ihu ki te ihu,
Te hau ka rere, te ha ka tau

A meeting of peoples, a mixing of cultures,
a blending of heritage, a sharing of future

Te Whanganui o Hei/Mercury Bay is one of four landing sites in Aotearoa/New Zealand where Maori and European first met during Lieutenant James Cook’s 1768-1771 voyages of exploration. 
Throughout 2019 and 2020, Tuia – Encounters 250, a tier 1 national commemoration, marks the 250th anniversary of this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, and Te Powhiri (The Welcome) is the name given to the Te Whanganui o Hei/Mercury Bay community’s expression of Tuia – Encounters 250. 
In November 1769, when HM Bark Endeavour sailed into Te Whanganui o Hei waters, tangata whenua Ngati Hei welcomed the newcomers ashore at their turangawaewae, Wharekaho, and guaranteed their safe passage to their marae, Wharetaewa Pa. There, Ngati Hei honoured Lieutenant James Cook, Tupaia (a Polynesian linguist, navigator and priest) and the scientists and crew on board the Endeavour with the Maori ritual of welcome and inclusion, the Powhiri.  
In the same spirit, today the people of Te Whanganui o Hei regularly include thousands of newcomers, visitors and holiday makers into their community.  In October 2019, a Powhiri will take place at Wharekaho to commemorate that first amicable encounter between Maori and Pakeha 250 years ago. 
Many other projects and events reflecting the kaupapa of Te Powhiri and Tuia – Encounters 250 are also planned for 2019 and 2020 in Te Whanganui o Hei.  Visit our Events Calendar for detail. 
Join us, as we recognise and celebrate the weaving together (te raranga) of the many threads of the cultures of Te Whanganui o Hei and Aotearoa.

Together we build a strong foundation (te paparahi) for a shared future – Tuia i te muka tangata.hared future – Tuia i te muka tangata.

Tuia karakia

Kia whakarongo ake au     
Ki te tangi a te manu nei      
A te Matui      
“Tui, tui, tuituia” 
I listen 
To the cry of the bird 
The Matui 
Calling “tui, tui, tuituia”
Tuia i runga    
Tuia i raro     
Tuia i waho          
Tuia i roto
That it be woven above 
As it is below 
Woven without 
As it is within
Tuia i te here tangata    
Ka rongo te po  
Ka rongo te ao  
Tuia i te muka tangata 
Interwoven with the threads of humanity 
Felt in innocence 
And in consciousness 
Intertwined with the threads of humankind
I takea mai i Hawaiki-Nui      
I Hawaiki-Roa, i Hawaiki-Pamamao    
Oti ra me era atu ano Hawaiki  
Te hono a wairua  
Born from Great-Hawaiki 
From Far-Hawaiki, from Long-Distant-Hawaiki 
And hence all other Hawaiki 
The merging of spirits
Whakaputa ki Te Whaiao    
Ki Te Ao Marama      
Tihe mauri ora! 
Out in to the World of Light 
Life, knowledge, and illumination 
Sneeze oh living spirit, dynamic life-force, life-principle!

Tuia 250 and Te Powhiri Foundation Document

Tuia 250 and Te Powhiri  Foundation Document

About Mercury 250 Trust

Formed in 2014, Mercury 250 Trust is comprised of four volunteer trustees – the Ngati Hei kaumatua, a community leader, a local historian and an education leader.  The Trust’s purpose is to:
·         facilitate Tuia – Encounters 250 commemoration ceremonies in Te Whanganui o Hei, and
·         to encourage and promote the development of a community programme of events and legacy projects reflecting the kaupapa of Tuia 250
The Trust is supported by Thames Coromandel District Council, and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (Manatu Taonga) and the Ministry of Education (Te Tahuhu o Te Matauranga).
The Trust’s patron is Sir Michael Fay.  
In 2018, funds granted by Lottery Tuia 250 Programme enabled the Trust to engage two contractors:  a Cultural Advisor and an Event Coordinator. 
Mercury 250 Trust aims to craft and support an enduring concept of the important place of Powhiri in the rohe (area), founded on the unique historical connections that were made in 1769 between Ngati Hei and the first Europeans, on the shores of Wharekaho. 

“Te Powhiri honours New Zealand’s biculturalism and acknowledges its multi-cultural communities.   It is an opportunity for our cultures to share our stories with balance and honesty, to bring about understanding, respect, reconciliation.  It is an invitation to our nation, to all of us, to make the decision to create the future we want.” 
- Paul Kelly, co-chair Mercury 250 Anniversary Trust.   
“It is an opportunity for a reset.”
- Joe Davis, Ngati Hei spokesperson and co-chair Mercury 250 Anniversary Trust


Paul Kelly:
Mercury Bay Community Board Chair 

Joe Davis (Ngati Hei):
Local iwi representative 

John Wright:
Mercury Bay Area School Principal

Richard Gates:
Mercury Bay local historian

Sir Michael Fay:

Coordinating Group 
- Kirstin Richmond: Events Coordinator, Thames Coromandel District Council 
- Jan Wright: Mercury 250 Trust Event Coordinator 
- Michelle Wilson: Mercury 250 Trust Ngati Hei Cultural Advisor

About Tuia 250 - Encounters

Tuia - Encounters 250 is a nationwide commemoration taking place during 2019 and 2020 marking 250 years since the first onshore meetings between Maori and Europeans during the Endeavour's 1768-1771 voyages.  The commemoration acknowledges the extraordinary feats of the Pacific voyagers who arrived in Aotearoa centuries earlier, and the matauranga (the wisdom/knowledge) of two great voyaging traditions which brought both cultures together. 

Tuia 250 is the opportunity to tell and hear our nation’s and community’s stories and histories to grow understanding.  It is about weaving together our two cultures and values and creating a future we will all be proud to leave for our grandchildren. 

Regional commemorative events and ceremonies are being developed and delivered by four charitable trusts in the four parts of Aotearoa/New Zealand where Maori and Europeans first met during the 1769-71 voyage:

Te Ha 1769 Sestercentennial Trust in Tairawhiti/Gisborne

Mercury 250th Anniversary Trust in Te Whanganui o Hei/Mercury Bay

Te Au Marie Sestercentennial Charitable Trust in Te Tai Tokarau/Bay of Islands

Totaranui 250 Trust in Totaranui/Marlborough


Contact Us

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For general inquiries contact:
Jan Wright
Mercury 250 Trust Event Coordinator
07 867 1309 or
027 224 1927