'Tupapa - Our Stand, Our Story' - telling stories from a Māori perspective

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Following the overwhelming response to the graffiti on the statue of Captain Cook in Gisborne, we now take a look at the award-winning 'Tupapa - Our Stand. Our Story' multimedia experience, which aims to balance the mainstream narrative by presenting stories from the perspective of local Tūranga iwi.

Barney Tupara of Ngāti Oneone says, “The main theme is to celebrate the heritage stories of our ancestors and it's available to everyone from anywhere, Māori and Pākehā, to learn the real stories of this area.”

Māori arrived in the region over 700 years ago, Tupapa honours the Māori voyaging culture and the ways in which Māori lived on their land.

Mayor of Gisborne, Meng Foon says, “[Māori] arrived here first, with Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga on his vessel Nukutaimemeha, until the arrival of Horouta, Takitimu, Tereanini, Nukutere and the many other vessels.”

Within a few yards of one of the ten land markers is the statue of Captain Cook in Gisborne, which was graffitied last week. 

The Tupapa initiative celebrates the stories of the four Tūranga iwi of Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri and Ngāti Oneone.

“It's a place for our grandchildren to come and celebrate who they are, to talk and to learn about theirs and our ancestors. It represents the self-determination of iwi,” says Tupara.

Made with support from The Gisborne District Council, the project was recognised at the Local Government NZ Excellence Awards.

Foon says, “We can portray, through this initiative, the beautiful narratives of ours here in Te Tairāwhiti.”

Tupara agrees, “It's a new venture in this ever-changing world, and it's for the descendants- the time has come.”

Tours are available and Tupapa app is free to download.