Join the Flotilla

Coming up in November this year is the national Tuia 250 commemorations coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and locally, with the Tōtaranui 250 Trust. Under the banner of Tuia 250 ki Tōtaranui, a full weekend of events and learning opportunities is planned for the Marlborough Sounds and Picton waterfront from the 21st – 25th November.

A“dual heritage” flotilla of vessels is the centerpiece of the Tuia 250 commemoration, and celebrates the long voyaging traditions of Aotearoa New Zealand. Early on Thursday 21st November, a traditional Pōwhiri will take place at Ship Cove/Meretoto, the reserve will be closed to the public that day, but there will be offshore opportunities for watercraft.

On Friday 22 November, the boating community is invited to join the flotilla as they make their way from Meretoto/Ship Cove through Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound into Picton/Waitohi. Some restrictions are expected to be in place, and we are working through those with the local Harbours department and the Flotilla voyaging kaitiaki to release the details for that soon.

Ships like the traditional sailing vessel HMB Endeavour Replica are not usual visitors amongst the smaller pleasure craft at Picton Marina. With an overall length of 44m (144 feet), she will be visible from land and sea, on the waterfront over the weekend and be a major attraction for visitors to the event. Endeavour will be joined by the Spirit of New Zealand from Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland. The flotilla will also feature some impressive waka hourua (double-hulled canoes) – the Haunui from Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, the Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti from Tauranga – and the Fa’afaite i te Ao Mā’ohi, a va’a moana from Pape’ete, Tahiti. In addition, there will be four waka from Te Tau Ihu / Top of the South Island.

Port and marinas staff are working closely with the logistics team at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to accommodate the flotilla vessels. Port engineers are currently investigating the right locations and fit for the visiting vessels. The vessels will be open to the public over the weekend on the waterfront over the weekend of the 21-25th November, more information on planned events can be viewed here: and we will be announcing further information soon.

Flotilla Vessels


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