Date: 18th October 2019, 10am to 5pm
In October 2019, a hugely significant event and the key ceremony for Te Pōwhiri - the Pōwhiri - will take place at Wharekaho, below the famous Wharetaewa Pa (fortified village).Te Pōwhiri is to acknowledge and commemorate the first encounter between Ngāti Hei and Endeavour crew 250 years ago. Te Whanganui o Hei/Mercury Bay and Wharekaho in particular, was the location of the first friendly encounters between Māori and Europeans. Apart from the current Davis Homestead and stock paddocks, the site remains largely untouched since the actual event.
Registrations to attend the Pōwhiri have unfortunately all been filled, however, the general public are still welcome to catch the free shuttle buses running from Buffalo Beach Reserve out to Wharekaho to view the flotilla and the proceedings from outside the Marae grounds.
There will be a seating area set up at Simpson's Campground for those interested in taking a look at the Tuia 250 Flotilla. The Tuia 250 flotilla consisting of two waka hourua (double hulled canoes)- Haunui and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti, a va'a moana - Fa’faite i te Ao Mā’ohi, from Tahiti, the replica HMB Endeavour, R. Tucker Thompson heritage ship and the youth ship, Spirit of New Zealand, will anchor and disembark at the northern end of Wharekaho Beach (outside Simpson's Campground) from around 10am. This will be a family-friendly, alcohol-free zone for all members of the public to come along to and view the proceedings FREE of charge. (**see below for details on transport to Wharekaho). You will also be able to follow the hīkoi along the beach then observe the ceremony from the beachfront or land located at the end of Joseph Road (Leah Rd Reserve).
A Ngāti Hei representative will provide narration explaining the proceedings of the Pōwhiri along with snippets of historical information. At 11:30am the manuhiri (voyagers, community members, dignitaries, visitors to the area), will gather at the north end and begin the 1.2km hīkoi, and will be guided, along the foreshore and towards the southern end of Wharekaho, in the footsteps of Cook, the scientists, Tupaia and crew, entering the site of the "Te Powhiri", where manuhiri (visitors) will take part in the traditional Māori ceremony of welcome, Pōwhiri. Members of the general public are welcome to join the hīkoi, however, access to the Ngāti Hei land and participation in the Pōwhiri is restricted to guests who have registered prior to the event due to limited numbers.
At 2pm, hāngī will be served for everyone to enjoy followed by entertainment including kapa haka performances and James Webster. The event will finish at approximately 5pm.
If you are attending the pōwhiri or taking part in the hīkoi please wear appropriate footwear for the beach and the land. Also please dress appropriately to the weather on the day and refrain from bringing umbrellas. This event will be going ahead rain or shine and cover will not always be available.
There will be an exclusion zone in place in Wharekaho Bay for all other vessels and no beaching of the vessels except the waka will be allowed (Friday 18th October only).
**Free parking will be available at Buffalo Beach Reserve, Whitianga. There will be NO PARKING available anywhere in Wharekaho and the side roads will be closed to the public on this day.
Free shuttle buses will be running all day from Buffalo Beach Reserve, Whitianga to Wharekaho.
9am to 12pm - Buffalo Beach Reserve to Simpson's Campground (Northern end of beach)
12pm to 6pm - Buffalo Beach Reserve to Joseph Road (approx halfway along Wharekaho Beach)