Forty-four years at sea, and he can't wait to go back for more.

Tūrangi man Peter Deakin has recently returned to land after taking part in the Tuia 250 Voyage which sailed from Sydney to Tauranga on a replica of the HMB Endeavour.

Turangi sailor Peter Deakin on the replica HMB Endeavour from Sydney to Tauranga. Photo / Supplied
Turangi sailor Peter Deakin on the replica HMB Endeavour from Sydney to Tauranga. Photo / Supplied

The Tuia 250 Voyage is a commemoration of Pacific voyaging and the first onshore encounters between Māori and Pākehā 250 years ago. The double-hulled sailing canoe Fa'afaite from Tahiti arrived in New Zealand on September 13 and the tall ship HMB Endeavour arrived two weeks later.

The two boats were part of a six-vessel flotilla, including traditional Māori waka, and spent 15 days sailing around New Zealand to more than a dozen sites of significance.

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Peter's nine years in the British Merchant Navy was followed by a career as a skipper on a trawling vessel working out of Wellington. In 2012 he was stranded at sea for eight days after his engine failed en route from Nelson to Ōhope.

Peter had previously sailed on the HMB Endeavour in 2002, from Perth to London via Cape Horn. On that trip he had developed a hernia but the ship sailed at dawn and he didn't have time to get any medication.

The HMB Endeavour arrives at Tauranga Harbour. 27 September 2019 Bay of Plenty Times Photograph by Andrew Warner.
The HMB Endeavour arrives at Tauranga Harbour. 27 September 2019 Bay of Plenty Times Photograph by Andrew Warner.

"I told my doctor I was going on the ship whether he liked it or not."

In spite of the pain, he says he was so excited that he didn't sleep for five days.

"It is so marvellous to sail the way it used to be done."

This recent Endeavour trip was particularly memorable for Peter. He and crew member Dr Joris Broeders were at the helm during heavy weather north of New Zealand.

"He was the best Dutchman I ever met. We joked that he was the brawn and I was the brains. The beauty of this ship is where you talk to one another."

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With gusts over 160km per hour, the captain decided to take shelter in Opito Bay prior to clearing Customs.

"We got a phone call , 'Get out of there, you haven't cleared Customs.' We got blown past Tauranga and by the time we turned around we could only do half a knot into the wind."

The cultural experience at Tauranga was a highlight for Creel Cafe owner Peter and his wife Annie who joined him at Whareroa Marae for the Tuia 250 shore event. In later shore landings the Tuia 250 Voyage attracted controversy, however Peter says none of this was apparent in Tauranga.

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Tumu Whakarae chief executive Bernadette Cavanagh said Tuia 250 places the Endeavour's arrival here in the context of the feats of Pacific voyagers who navigated their way to Aotearoa many generations before the ship arrived.

Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee co-chair Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr said the crew of all the vessels had taken a great interest in learning and understanding each other's traditions.

"They share a common love of the ocean, their vessels and sailing which they look forward to sharing with many New Zealanders."