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Te Powhiri

Wharekaho (Simpson’s Beach)

October, 2019

In the spirit of “inclusivity and binding together” – Tuia - Encounters 250: Frequent visitors and non-resident community encouraged to take part in Te Powhiri.


Mercury 250 Trust extends an open invitation to our community’s frequent visitors and non-resident homeowners to take part in Te Powhiri; the regional commemorations honouring Tuia - Encounters 250 throughout 2019. Tuia 250 marks the 250th anniversary of the first onshore meetings which took place between Maori and Pakeha when the Endeavour sailed into Te Whanganui o Hei/Mercury Bay waters in 1769.


Like many towns on the Coromandel Peninsula, a significant proportion of Te Whanganui o Hei/ Mercury Bay’s population are non-resident holiday home owners and returning visitors, many of whom have had generations-long associations with our area. The Trust acknowledges the value of all members of our community – resident and non-resident – and takes the opportunity of the holiday season to reach out to our regular visitors with an invitation to embrace the Te Powhiri ceremonies and activities taking place in Te Whanganui o Hei this year.


Mercury 250 Trustee, John Wright, comments that 2019 will be a remarkable year not only for our country and our region, but most especially for our local community. Tuia 250 and Te Powhiri acknowledge the extraordinary cultures of voyaging and navigation that brought us all together in Aotearoa; the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of our physical and social environments; and, right at the heart of Tuia 250, the weaving together of Aotearoa’s people and our diverse cultures and the creation of the sort of shared future we can all be proud of.


“Te Powhiri is a ‘once in a life time’ opportunity for us all to embrace this kaupapa and it would be great for all of our community to engage in it. I believe the high level commemoration – the Powhiri to be held at Wharekaho (Simpson’s Beach) in October, 2019 – will be a profound experience for all. Everyone is invited, everyone will be welcomed and everyone will come away from this ceremony with a clear understanding of the many meanings of Powhiri and what Cook, the scientists, Tupaia and the crew of the Endeavour experienced in 1769 when tangata whenua Ngati Hei welcomed European visitors to our shores for the first time in Aotearoa.”


Te Powhiri and its diverse local programme provides many reasons throughout 2019 for visitors and non-resident homeowners to join permanent residents here in the Tier 1 national commemorations. The programme commences in March, with the main formal ceremonies occurring between 18th and 22nd October 2019 to coincide with the arrival of a national voyaging flotilla. Hundreds of people are expected to travel from various parts of Aotearoa to attend Te Whanganui o Hei major commemoration ceremonies led by Ngati Hei – the Karanga at Purangi Reserve and the Powhiri at Wharekaho.


“Te Powhiri will be an authentic expression to all of welcome and inclusion from Ngati Hei and the Te Whanganui o Hei community” add Joe Davis, Ngati Hei spokesperson.


Following the powhiri at Wharekaho, commemoration activities will continue at The Tuia Stage; a 12 hour event featuring local artists - poets, storytellers, musicians, dancers and kapa haka groups. The central performance is a 30 minute composition by Dr Charles Royal, commissioned by Creative Mercury Bay for Mercury Bay Community Choir and accompanied by James Webster and friends, incorporating taonga puoro, (traditional Maori instruments), kapa haka and woodwind and string musicians from Waikato’s Orchestra Central. The programme, as it stands currently, can be found on the Mercury250 website (


Everyone with an association with Te Whanganui o Hei is encouraged to contribute to commemorations, either through attending activities, making accommodation available to visitors, or supporting the programme and sharing the Mercury250 website and Facebook page with friends and families. Non-resident individuals or organisations may also contribute to the programme with a planned event or activity.


Lottery Tuia Programme funding is still available with a submission deadline of 17th January. Visit for information or contact Jan Wright, Mercury 250 Anniversary Trust Te Powhiri Commemorations Coordinator:

Contact info:

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