Auckland Harbour Bridge evokes blue water for our voyagers

Last Updated : 06 Oct 2020
Auckland Harbour Bridge evokes blue water for our voyagers
Photo: Jay Farnworth, Auckland Council

Colourful and dramatic, Vector Lights for Tuia 250 will pay tribute to the city’s long, rich and courageous voyaging history with a bespoke light show on Auckland Harbour Bridge, ushering in Tuia 250 ki Tāmaki Makaurau.

For four evenings, starting at 8pm on Thursday 24 October, Aucklanders will see the arrival of waka of all kinds in lights on the bridge. The show will play every half hour until midnight.

Symbolic visual reference will be made to the six vessels – waka hourua and tall ships – sailing into the Waitematā Harbour as part of the commemorative Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla.

The flotilla arrival can be viewed from the northern end of Queens Wharf at around noon on Friday 25 October.

The creative direction for Vector Lights for Tuia 250 came from Auckland Council’s Ataahua Papa who says: “The arrival of waka into the Waitematā is a very important part of the narrative that makes up the history of Tāmaki Makaurau. Many of the waka of the Māori migration sailed into Waitematā.

"The portrayal of waka arriving into the City of Sails is a great way to connect the heritage of all New Zealanders whose ancestors arrived into Aotearoa aboard a waka of some kind”.

Throughout Labour Weekend, Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Council brings Tuia 250 ki Tāmaki Makaurau to the city. The weekend is set to be a poignant weaving together of our multiple cultures: Māori, Pacific, European and others.

Te Tangi o Te Moana – Sounds of the Sea

Bic Runga, Anna Coddington, Ria Hall and Annie Crummer, singing with her Papa Will Crummer, are among many much-loved Kiwi artists bringing music to Te Tangi o Te Moana stage at Karanga Plaza, Wynyard Quarter.

On live stages and marquees, from Eastern Viaduct to Silo 6, people will hear stories of Auckland’s voyaging history with new clarity. Aucklanders will learn from the interpretation and analysis of our own mana whenua, historians and artists; taste Polynesian and Māori food; view storyboards about two immigrant families’ boat-building legacy; hear about the iconic Tupaia from his own people whose oral tradition has seen history pass down the generations; and step onboard a vessel from the flotilla.

And on the Auckland Live large outdoor screen voyaging films will play every day until 5pm. Aucklanders can watch free screenings of Waka Huia - Hekenukumai (2013) by Nga Taonga Sound and Vision. The film, in two parts, looks at the life of waka builder Hekenukumai (Hector) Busby and historic Waka Tapu voyage across the Pacific Ocean from New Zealand to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) on double hulled sailing canoes (waka hourua) using traditional Polynesian navigation techniques.

For details of the free events on offer in Tāmaki Makaurau, visit


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