Yesterday, whilst on my shopping mall duties with my children, I came upon this new book called ‘The Adventures of Tupaia’ by Courtney Sina Meredith (NZ Samoan poet) and now author.

Whitcoulls is one of the favourite places of our youngest to visit as it encompasses a book, stationery, toy and giftshop (all in one) and that’s where I spied the book to add to our collection.

This is one important story that needed to be told and I had considered it but as it wasn’t my story to tell, I’m so glad that now many young people and people, in general, will know who the real hero of Captain Cooks voyages was.

Over the last few years since teaching and learning much through the lens of Indigenous Research, I’ve read and come across a lot of writings and information that reveals that Polynesian / Pasifika ancestors were people who were at the forefront of living sustainably, with languages that have similar origins, crafting canoes and sea voyaging vehicles that traversed thousands of miles and populated islands throughout the pacific centuries before Captain Cook was even born.

I’ve reviewed another book, in this blog, about Tupaia/Tupaea’s exploration with Captain Cook’s expedition which is a more comprehensive read for adults but this book was originally written for children to teens to learn about him.

Launched last month, it comes at a time when people are questioning why there are celebrations to mark 200 years since Captain Cook’s voyaging and ‘first contact’ which used to be taught as discovery when in actual fact the doctrine of discovery was colonial, oppressive and misleading (to put it mildly) for indigenous peoples he came in contact with when the actual inhabitants had already ‘discovered’ the lands.

This book begins to right the story that it was actually Tupaia who helped to navigate Cook Captain to Aotearoa and that Captain Cook didn’t actually discover anything except that it was the first time that Europeans had come in contact with NZ but not for Pasifika peoples or Polynesians who had been long traversing the vast oceanic continent i.e. moana nui a kiwa…