This series of artworks has been honoured as a set of 5 stamps to commemorate Tuia 250.
When Tupaia, an arioi priest and navigator from Ra‘iātea, guided Lieutenant James Cook and the Endeavour from Tahiti to Aotearoa in 1769, a reconnection was made between Māori and their ancestral homelands. As featured on these stamps, New Zealand artist Michel Tuffery has created original artworks in response to his discoveries about where his personal history meets that of these first encounters.
About the artwork:
The Kōtuku is a metaphor to acknowledge Tupaia, an Arioi or high Priest from Taputapuatea, Raiatea. Raiatea sits in the northeastern Island group known as the Leeward Islands or Society Islands in French Polynesia.
Tupaia joined Lt James Cook on the Endeavour voyage and guided him to Tolaga Bay, on the East Coast of Aotearoa. He was a skilled navigator, philosopher. politician and translator from the School of Learning at Taputapuatea Marae, Raiatea.