Date: 18th to 20th October 2019
Venue: Wharekaho and Marine Reserve, Whitianga
The Tuia 250 flotilla of waka and heritage ships is scheduled to arrive in Te Whanganui o Hei early on the morning of Friday 18 October.
The waka hourua are Haunui from Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland, and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti from Tauranga. The va’a moana is Fa’afaite i te Ao Mā’ohi and joins the Flotilla from Pape'ete, Tahiti.
The heritage vessels joining the Flotilla are the HMB Endeavour replica from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, the Spirit of New Zealand from Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland, and the R. Tucker Thompson from Pēwhairangi / Bay of Islands.
The HMB Endeavour and the Fa’afaite (va'a) will peel off from the fleet and head over to Purangi (Cook’s Beach) for an hour or so from around 8am. The balance of the fleet will then head to the north end of Wharekaho to begin the anchoring and disembarking process. Endeavour and Fa’afaite will join those vessels at around 10.30am.
There will be a marquee set up within Simpson's Campground for the general public to come and view the flotilla arriving, at anchor and departing again in the afternoon. This is a FREE family-friendly, alcohol-free area for anyone to come along and have a look around.
If you wish to attend the Pōwhiri, it is also free but you will need to register as numbers are limited. Information on how to do this is available on the Te Pōwhiri Event or www.mercury250.org (**see below for information on how to get to Wharekaho to view the flotilla).
After the Pōwhiri has finished on Friday afternoon, the waka and va'a moana will sail along Wharekaho Bay and around to Buffalo Beach, Whitianga. They will continue along the shoreline, entering the river mouth and anchoring up near the Marina which is where they will be located for the remainder of the weekend and will once again be accessible to the public from land (weather permitting).
Chosen local water-based tourism operators will offer cruises throughout Saturday and Sunday to come within 50m or so of the three heritage vessels at anchor in the Bay. These operators will be advertised on our website.
Late Sunday night (20 October), the Tuia 250 fleet will set sail for their next destination.
**Friday 18th October
Transport to Wharekaho to view Tuia 250 Flotilla
Free parking will be available at Buffalo Beach Reserve in Whitianga. There will be NO PARKING available anywhere at Wharekaho and all side roads will be closed to the public.
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) and return
12pm to 6pm - Buffalo Beach Reserve to Joseph Road (approx halfway along Wharekaho Beach) and return