‘Weaving a strong future’
To keep the aims of Tuia 250 going into the future was the challenge laid down by several speakers at yesterday’s civic welcome to the voyaging flotilla, held on the wharf alongside HMNZS Otago after the Tall Ships had docked.
The crews of the replica Endeavour, Spirit of New Zealand, R.Tucker Thompson, the waka houra and va’a and the Otago were joined by the Governor-General, politicians, and other local and visiting dignitaries.
The Gisborne District Council-staged event was attended by around 400 people.
Tuia 250 co-chair Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr said Tuia was about weaving and sewing things together.
“How do we continue to share the Tuia stories, and welcome other people into those stories into the future?
“How do we continue the idea of Tuia? What comes after? That’s the challenge.” Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy said the first meetings, between Maori and Europeans, were a story of loss and pain that was only now getting more recognition.
“Our knowledge of the events of our past will definitely help us, as surely as the waves pounding our shores, and this is a time to welcome those many stories.
“We need to apply the hard-learned lessons of the past, to our lessons today.
“In 2019 we can reflect and look forward to the journey ahead, and the challenges.”
‘Standing together as a community’Dame Patsy said Aotearoa today was the culmination of human migration across the planet.
“We owe it to future generations to find more effective ways to work together.
“A better understanding of our past will help us navigate our future together.”
Maori Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis said Tuia was about our past and acknowledging all our ancestors.
“Having these discussions is about our future, and our future for the next 1000 years.”
He paid tribute to all those involved in Tairawhiti and around the country in staging the Tuia 250 event.
“There’s been a heck of a lot of energy, by a heck of a lot of people, gone in to make this thing happen, and it’s a wonderful event.”
National MP Nicky Wagner said each one of us was on a journey too.
“Anything that can inspire us, like Tuia 250, helps us on our way.”
Tuia 250 co-chair Dame Jenny Shipley pointed in her speech to our duality as a nation.
”We are each incredibly valuable threads in a rope that’s strong.
“I hope that as we look forward we retain the spirit of Tuia, and we honestly speak about encounters, good and bad.
“It’s my hope that Tuia will stay alive long after the event ends, into the future.”
Dame Jenny said the story of this country begins in Gisborne.
“If we cannot stand together here, where can we stand?”
Mayor Rehette Stoltz opened proceedings with a welcome to all the voyagers.
“It’s an absolute honour to welcome everyone and a great pleasure to share this day with you.
“Today as a community we stand together and celebrate the achievements of all our voyagers,” she said.
“Tuia 250 gives us the opportunity to reflect on our dual history and how we can navigate our future together.
“We are all on a journey, learning from each other about who we are.”
Highland piper Scott McSloy played the moving “Lament to the Fallen” as part of the ceremony, with karakia at the beginning and end by Wi Rangi Pera.
The tall ships’ crews received a Maori challenge as they approached the civic ceremony venue.
After the ceremony the crews and dignitaries went away to enjoy a private lunch together.