Tuesday, 20 August 2019


“Sand art” competition to form part of Te Pōwhiri commemorations

The Informer is proud to announce that we will organise and sponsor a “sand art” competition at Cooks Beach as part of next year’s Te Pōwhiri commemorations.

Te Pōwhiri is the name that has been given to the Mercury Bay series of events that will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the explorer James Cook’s voyage to New Zealand in 1769. The commemorations are nationwide known as Tuia - Encounters 250. Mercury Bay was one of the four places in New Zealand where Cook and his crew made landfall during the voyage.

Te Powhiri events are being planned from March until the end of next year. The majority of events are expected to take place during October. Highlights will be the arrival of a fleet of tall ships and waka in Mercury Bay and welcoming of the crews forming part of the fleet with a formal pōwhiri at Wharekaho/Simpsons Beach.

The Te Pōwhiri commemorations are being coordinated by the Mercury Bay 250 Anniversary Trust. Individuals, businesses, community groups and sport clubs are all welcome to contribute to Te Pōwhiri with events and other initiatives.

“Te Pōwhiri is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something really significant,” says Stephan Bosman, editor of The Informer. “We put a lot of thought into what we can do to contribute to the commemorations. A sand art - or sand sculpture - competition is ticking all the boxes. It’s fun, it can be themed to fit in with Tuia - Encounters 250 and it has the potential to attract many visitors to Mercury Bay that wouldn’t otherwise have spent time in the area.

“We’re prepared to make a significant investment in the competition, both in terms of prize money across a variety of categories and to attract professional artists, not to compete, but to inspire the crowds with their brilliance.

“Cooks Beach is, we think, the ideal venue for the competition. The Purangi River played an important part in Cook’s visit to Mercury Bay in 1769 and the low tide beach is long and wide. We’ll organise a shuttle to run between Ferry Landing and Cooks Beach.

“We’ve already had interest from some of the businesses in Cooks Beach to help with the competition and the Mercury Bay 250 Anniversary Trust and the Mercury Bay Art Escape have both indicated that they will be keen to help us promote the competition as far and wide as possible.

“We’re at the moment looking at holding the competition on a Saturday in late October or early November when low tide isn’t too early or too late in the day. It’s also the time when Tuia - Encounters 250 will be on many people’s minds.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the competition can now already register their interest by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will keep them up to date with the arrangements as they get finalised.

Anyone keen to contribute to Te Pōwhiri in another way are invited to contact Jan Wright, the Mercury 250 Anniversary Trust’s Te Pōwhiri commemorations coordinator, at email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. A website containing a schedule of Te Pōwhiri events will be launched in the next few weeks. A Te Pōwhiri Facebook page will also keep people up to date with the commemorations. 



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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.