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Meeting of two cultures recalled

CHARLOTTE SQUIRE
Last updated 13:00 19/12/2012

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Yesterday it was 135,000 days since Abel Tasman and his crew anchored in Golden Bay to meet tangata whenua, said Penny Griffith, organiser of the commemoration to mark the 370th anniversary of the event at the Pohara Boat Club.

"The first meeting of Maori and Europeans was 370 years ago today, this is a matter of serious history," Mrs Griffith told historians, locals, tangata whenua and schoolchildren at the boat club.

"There's another two weeks for Abel Tasman to be in our waters so anything could happen," she said.

Murray Petterson, of Stoke, said he attended the unveiling of the Abel Tasman monument 70 years ago when he was 8. It stands on the the hill between Ligar Bay and Tarakohe.

"I was there at the 300th anniversary as a schoolboy. It was on 18th of December, 1942."

Mr Petterson questioned how earthquake-friendly the monument was. Neil Murray, programme manager for visitor assets for the Department of Conservation in Takaka, said he had addressed that question three years ago and had it checked out by experts.

"The Ministry for Culture and Heritage are responsible for the monument. It's been reinforced. The concrete is of great quality. It's in very good condition. It's heavily reinforced with no salt penetration.

"We were confident it would last many years yet."

Ruediger Mack, a Tasman scholar, said he and his team had surveyed Taupo Point, a small "sandy cove" near the Tata Islands. They documented the area where rocks had been moved to the side by Maori to pull up canoes.

He suggested Abel Tasman's crew could have come ashore at Taupo Point, not remained out at sea, "as history suggests".

Mrs Griffith said Taupo Point would be the "oldest dateable marine port in New Zealand".

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- The Nelson Mail

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