Te Pōwhiri ki Te Whanganui o Hei


  • Te Whanganui o Hei | Mercury Bay is one of four landing sites where Māori and European first met during Cook’s 1769 voyage, therefore a significant place for Tuia - Encounters 250 commemorations.  During November 1769, Cook and his crew spent a total of 12 days in Te Whanganui o Hei, during which time the first sanctioned Pōwhiri between European and Māori took place at Wharekaho. Cook observed the transit of Mercury and accurately established the longitude of Te Whanganui a Hei on the globe. 

    Along with Te Whanganui o Hei/Mercury Bay, regional commemorations will also take place in Turanga-a-kiwa | Gisborne, Te Tai Tokelau | Northland and Totaranui |Marlborough Sound. The communities of each region are developing events, activities and also what is known as 'Legacy Projects' which all reflect the kaupapa | objective of Tuia 250. To tell their unique stories.  

    Pōwhiri is the traditional protocol to welcome and acknowledge guests | manuhiri.

  • Te Pōwhiri 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” explains Paul Kelly, chair of Mercury 250 Anniversary Trust.   “It is an invitation to our nation, to all of us, to make the decision to create the future we want”.   

    “An opportunity to tell our Ngāti Hei stories, to let our community and the world know our diverse history” says Joe Davis,  Spokesperson for Ngāti Hei and co-chair of Te Whanganui o Hei Mercury 250 Anniversary Trust. 

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