A flotilla of ships and waka hourua have departed Urquharts Bay on their journey into the Whangārei Harbour.

They are slowly moving into a headwind past Marsden Pt.

The flotilla has started travelling towards the Onerahi foreshore. A group of kids holding the United Tribes and Tino Rangatiratanga are performing a haka on the jetty as ships and waka hourua pass and those aboard are performing a haka in return.

One of the boats in the flotilla heading towards Whangārei Harbour Photo / Michael Cunningham
One of the boats in the flotilla heading towards Whangārei Harbour Photo / Michael Cunningham

The flotilla arrived in Whangārei yesterday as part of the Tuia 250 voyage.

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Tuia 250 commemorates 250 years since the first onshore meetings between Māori and Pākehā, and also celebrates the voyaging heritage of Pacific people that led to the settlement of Aotearoa many generations before.

The Tuia 250 flotilla makes its way down past Marsdent Point. Photo / Michael Cunningham
The Tuia 250 flotilla makes its way down past Marsdent Point. Photo / Michael Cunningham

This morning as the ships and waka hourua travel into the Whangārei Harbour, they will be welcomed with a mass haka pōwhiri by Whangārei school students lining the Onerahi foreshore between 10am and 11am.

Tomorrow regional waka will receive and escort the waka hourua - including Tahitian vessel Fa'afaite - on the Hātea into Hihiaua about 8am. This will be followed by a mass haka pōwhiri at Hihiaua Peninsula at 10am.

The Tuia 250 flotilla moored off Urquharts.Bay last night Photo / Luke Dixon
The Tuia 250 flotilla moored off Urquharts.Bay last night Photo / Luke Dixon

There will then be entertainment at Hihiaua Peninsula and a range of other events at different locations throughout the weekend, including an open day at Port Nikau from 10am to 3pm.

Tuia 250 ki Taitokerau, being organised by the Te Au Mārie Trust, also honours and pays tribute to the late Ta Hekenukumai Puhipi, a master waka carver who was a leader in the revival of waka building and celestial navigation in Aotearoa and the Pacific.