Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, home to Oranjehof, the national Dutch museum in Foxton, will host an international travelling exhibition Welcome Aboard, which explains the journey Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and his 110 men undertook in 1642 to become the first Europeans to reach New Zealand.

Co-Chair of the Dutch Connection Museum Trust, Arjan van der Boon, said the exhibition has been shown to great acclaim in the Netherlands and Tasmania.

"It tells the story of what in its day was a huge journey of discovery. Two small wooden ships set out to sail some 30,000km into unknown stormy southern oceans, without the ability to know exactly where they were.

"They travelled almost one 10th of the distance to the moon. And that exciting story is told from the everyday perspective of the barber who also acted as the doctor, the carpenter, and the navigator who was responsible for getting everyone home again," he said.


The exhibition explores everyday life and the hardships on board, as well as the crew's encounter with Ngati Tumatakokiri in Mohua/Golden Bay, on and December 18 and 19, 1642.

Mr van der Boon said the exhibition's connection with both Dutch and Maori heritage emphasises the partnership at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, which also houses Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre, a Maori museum, art and learning centre.

The exhibition will be opened at noon on Saturday April 28 by Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Rob Zaagman, and attended by Mayor of Horowhenua Michael Feyen.

The opening coincides with the Big ("Orange") Dutch Day Out celebrated around Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom and De Molen, to celebrate the Dutch King Willem Alexander's Birthday.

Entry to the exhibition is free.

The exhibition runs until Sunday July 22.