Voyaging from the past into the future

This year Tuia 250, commemorating 250 years since the first Māori/non-Māori meetings, will recognise the extraordinary voyaging traditions and cultures of the Pacific and the feats of the early European explorers.

Resources to encourage participation in the themes of Tuia and the other study topics – first encounters, New Zealand history, and legacy for learning – will be available, acknowledging that valuable lessons can be learned from the past.

Incorporating voyaging into everyday classroom learning

This year Aotearoa New Zealand will acknowledge 250 years since the first sustained onshore meetings between Māori and non-Māori with a national commemoration called Tuia – Encounters 250 (Tuia 250).

Tuia 250 is about the people and place of Aotearoa New Zealand – what brought the people together, the challenges they face and how they will weave their cultures and values into a future they will be proud to leave for the next generation.

Tuia 250 will recognise the extraordinary voyaging traditions and cultures of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (the Pacific), the exceptional feats of Pacific voyagers, their mātauranga (knowledge), innovation and non-instrument navigation prowess and their decisions to settle in Aotearoa many generations ago.

Tuia 250 will also acknowledge the feats of European explorers, the technology they developed and their first encounters with the people of this place when James Cook, Tupaia and others on HMS Endeavour arrived and sailed around Aotearoa in 1769.

The Ministry of Education is supporting the commemoration through Tuia Mātauranga, a national education programme that supports teaching and learning and local curriculum development.

Ministry of Education’s Parent Information and Community Intelligence Acting Deputy Secretary Rose Jamieson says that Tuia Mātauranga is an opportunity for students to learn more about our histories and have conversations about multiple perspectives on our history and our future. Voyaging is one of the first Tuia study topics introduced to schools in 2019.

Throughout the year there will be resources available to support participation in the themes of Tuia and the other study topics: first encounters, New Zealand history, and legacy for learning.

"Traditional navigation concepts are still relevant today and in the future. There are always lessons we can learn from those who have gone before us," says Rose.

Proving just how relevant these traditional methods are today, the US Naval Academy made headlines in 2015 when they reinstated celestial navigation lessons to combat potential hacking of their computer navigation systems. Locally, the Royal New Zealand Navy continues to teach and regularly practise celestial navigation. They use this method to navigate their way home as a back-up for GPS failure.

Rose says knowledge of traditional navigation techniques promotes learning and discovery across the curriculum.

"It draws on science, maths, technology, and innovation. It requires an understanding of and reverence for cultural practices, the environment and people to enable collaboration to achieve a task that might be impossible alone.

"Schools and students can seek out expertise within their own community, to reinvigorate the sharing of knowledge between elders and the young, and ensure these traditional skills and practices are preserved for coming generations."

Read the full article on the Education Gazette website

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