Story: Te reo Māori – the Māori language

Tupaia and Cook

Tupaia and Cook

Michel Tuffery's diptych 'Tupaia's chart Cook and Banks/Tupaia's and Parkinson's paintbox' depicts some of the many skills of the Tahitian (Maohi) arioi (chief) Tupaia, who travelled to New Zealand with British explorer James Cook in 1769. Tupaia charted over 100 islands in the Pacific, and the image of a Māori and Pākehā man trading a crayfish is based on one of his drawings. Because of the similarities between the Tahitian and Māori languages, Tupaia was able to act as an interpreter for Cook on arrival at Ūawa, Ōpoutama, now known as Cooks Cove, Tolaga Bay.

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Michel Tuffery
Acrylic on canvas by Michel Tuffery, 2004

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How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins and Basil Keane, 'Te reo Māori – the Māori language - Pākehā engagement with te reo, 1769 to 1840s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/41064/tupaia-and-cook (accessed 18 October 2019)

Story by Rawinia Higgins and Basil Keane, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 1 Sep 2015