Statue of Kupe, Wellington Harbour
Matahourua te waka, ko Kupe te tangata, ko Hine-te-aparangi te wahine. Kupe Raiatea, the Explorer, his wife Hine-te-aparangi and Pekahourangi, the tohunga, sight Aotearoa New Zealand from their canoe Matahourua.
This Kupe group statue was created in plaster of paris by sculptor William Trethewey and featured at the 1940 NZ Centennial Exhibition at Rongotai. In 1999 the statue was cast in bronze as a Millenium Project and unveiled on 4 March 2000 as a tribute to all who have come to these shores.
The Hawai’i Island Journal says:
Kupe and Ngahue sighted New Zealand around the end of the 10th century AD, opening up a new frontier for generations of Polynesian explorers and colonists. Kupe is credited with naming the new land Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud. He is said to have come from Rangiatea, now known as Raiatea in the Society Islands. His father was a Rarotongan, which shows that travel between those islands existed at least back to the 10th century AD.
The two men launched their voyage from Tahiti, stopping over on Rarotonga. Kupe’s vessel was named Matahourua and that of Ngahue’s was Tawiri-Rangi.
The Matahourua is said to have accommodated 60 persons. Its anchor was a stone known as Tatara-a-punga, which Kupe took from Maungaroa, a hill on Rarotonga. Among Kupe’s passengers were his wife, Hine-te-aparangi and their four daughters.
The expedition made its first landfall near the North Cape of New Zealand. From there, they were said to have sailed down the East Coast to Castle Point, then to Palliser Bay. Proceeding south, they entered Wellington Harbor where they named the two islands now known as Somes and Ward, Matiu and Makoro after two of Kupe’s daughters.