National | History

Tupaia's journey told through Te Tangi o Te Moana

Descendants of Tahitian Navigator Tupaia will take part in a special exhibition as part of Tuia 250.

Te Tangi o Te Moana will tell the story of Tupaia who played a key role in the navigation of Captain Cooks Endeavour through the Pacific Islands. 

A chance for many to learn about the legacy and story of Tupaia the great navigator of the Pacific.

Ena Manuireva, who is the Sounds of the Sea leader for the Tahitian group, is excited to showcase this important piece of history to the people.

"The whole idea was to give better coverage of how we as Tahitians look at the navigational system of our ancestors. I am proud because Tupaia, at last, has a stage in his own right.

"His job was to help Cook navigate through from Tahiti to go all the way to Rangi'atea and at the same time tried to give the names of the islands that he knew. But can you imagine somebody who had 130 names of islands that he knew in the Pacific."

Tupaia, who took part in Cook's first voyage as a navigator and translator, helped the Endeavour navigate through the Pacific Islands.

"Cook was relying on a charter that was given to him by Wallis or by Tasman because that's all he had at the time. Tupaia didn't have any of that all he had was here and up there. Cook must've realised, he says himself in his journal, 'This guy is quite clever'."

Tuia 250 co-Chair Dame Jenny Shipley says it's important for people to learn and recite the stories of the ancestors of that generation.

"They wanted to celebrate voyaging capability of the Pacific voyagers and Tupaia is one of those, although he was on the Endeavor, not on the Vaka. So we have a thousand years of voyaging history of the Polynesian voyaging and the Polynesian connection to the Endeavor's journey."

On October 25, the Tuia 250 fleet will arrive in Auckland and on that same day will be the first show for Sounds of the Sea.