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Ed Sheeran

Turanganui a Kiwa gets up close with voyagers
@Kelvin Davis

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The public got the chance to go on board vessels in the Tuia 250 flotilla moored in Gisborne's Inner Harbour.

The open day, which also featured the HMNZS Otago, will include interactive workshops, exhibitions and entertainment all day for the thousands expected.

Yesterday's arrival of the tall ships and waka hourua drew thousands to the city's beaches.

The Endeavour replica, the R Tucker Thompson and the Spirit of New Zealand accompanied by the waka hourua Ngahiraka mai Tāwhiti and Haunui and the Tahitian va'a Fa'afaite, sailed into Tūranganui a Kiwa at sunrise yesterday.

Before they arrived, a karakia and interdenominational service was held at Te Waiohiharore (The Cut), to remember the Māori who died when Lieutenant James Cook and his crew on the Endeavour arrived in 1769.

A group of protestors lined the Tūranganui River to highlight the ongoing impacts of colonisation and colonialism that had been ushered in by Cook's arrival.

Māori Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis says he welcomed the protests as part of the conversation.

"Let’s talk about it. Let’s have these awkward conversations. There’s nothing wrong with that and I welcome those people who are opposed to this because it’s important their views are heard. It’s important that New Zealanders know that people died, that it hasn’t been a fairy tale for the last 250 years for many, those are part of the conversations, I think it’s healthy and I think it’s an opportunity to confront our past and move forward into the future," he says.

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