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:
When Nicholas Young sighted land from the Endeavour’s masthead on 6 October 1769, earning a gallon of rum, Cook added ‘Young Nick’s Head’ to the headland Te Kurī a Pāoa, named for the dog of the captain of the Horouta waka. Taiato, the nephew of Tupaia and an arioi acolyte, appears as he was drawn by Parkinson in a tiputa poncho and playing a vivo noseflute. These 12-year-old boys from different sides of the world were on a shared, often perilous adventure. When the Endeavour reached Batavia (Jakarta), after a short and exciting exploration of this cosmopolitan city, Taiato sickened and died. Tupaia was inconsolable, and died shortly after.