THE people planning to sail the full-scale replica of the British 18th century research vessel Endeavour across the Tasman Sea hope the voyage will provide opportunity for reconciliation.
Earlier this year, as part of plans to commemorate the 250th commemoration of the first meetings of Maori and Europeans, the Major Events Development Fund committed $3.5 million towards a national voyaging event that will include waka hourua, vaka from the Pacific, Royal New Zealand vessels and the Australian-owned replica of HMB Endeavour. This event will open with a celebration of 1000 years of Pacific and Maori voyaging.
During a visit to Gisborne this week, the Australian National Maritime Museum assistant director operations Peter Rout said details of the visit were still to be finalised, but the museum was working on the assumption that the Endeavour would be in Gisborne in October 2019 for “a number of days” and would act as a living museum, open to the public.
“When the 200th commemorations took place in New Zealand and Australia, it was very much about building monuments to Cook. I think both countries have moved on significantly since then. This is a great opportunity to rebalance the stories and use it as a way forward to a shared future.
“We see this 2019 and 2020 as a great opportunity to re-cast the message of Endeavour and hopefully become more representative of reconciliation and truth-telling.
“The idea is also to sail to regions and sites of significance around New Zealand through October, November and early December as part of the voyaging event. We hope to arrive back in Sydney on or around December 23, 2019.”
Built in 1993, the $17 million sailing ship is owned and operated by the Australian National Maritime Museum on behalf of the Australian people.
Mr Rout said the replica had a professional crew of 16, but also had 40 open positions available for a voyaging sailing crew.
“Those are the positions we are able to take on in addition to the professional crew, and give them the experience of sailing on an 18th century ship. Experienced team-leaders will be on board to manage the voyage crew and train them and make sure that they are able to climb masts, sleep in hammocks and generally have a great time. It would take 20 days to sail the ship from Sydney to Gisborne.”
Mr Rout was in Gisborne as part of a three-day visit to New Zealand to learn more about commemoration plans. He also met representatives from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to discuss how the Endeavour replica will be involved.
The Government has to date committed to investing a total of $10.5 million to support the development and delivery of the national commemoration, and $2 million is earmarked for Gisborne under the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.
Other funding will support the October 2019 national launch of the commemoration in Gisborne, the voyaging event, education programmes, landing site commemorative event and legacy programmes, and a programme team based in the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
The Te Ha Trust, which is co-ordinating sestercentennial commemorations in Gisborne, expects to have more details of 2019 programme of events later this year.