Tupaia’s Endeavour

Directed by Lala Rolls.

In 1769 Tupaia, a Tahitian high priest, sailed on the Endeavour into unchartered waters. A navigator, diplomat, artist and explorer; it was he who ensured Cook’s success, indeed some say his survival, on his first Pacific voyage. Two modern day Polynesian explorers are on a quest to bring the story of their ancestor to light.

When the Endeavour sailed over the Tahitian horizon, Tupaia, a high priest and intellectual, could see change coming and made the decision to embrace an opportunity. He became a diplomat, politician, artist and interpreter on the British ship. When they arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand, it appeared to Māori as if it was he, not Captain James Cook, who commanded the Endeavour.

Tupaia’s Endeavour is a story about an extraordinary Tahitian who was a visionary and the key to Cook’s survival in his encounters with the Polynesians of Tahiti and New Zealand. It is also a story of two modern day Polynesian men who follow their ancestor on their own Arioi (knowledge sharing) voyage in 2012.

This film presents Captain Cook’s first Pacific voyage, this time, through the eyes of the people of the Pacific.

This film is currently in development.


“Worldview came on board for us during the production of a domestic project that we were developing into a complex international project. Their support both with funds and with their producer’s (Himesh Karr’s) consultation allowed us to do the research and develop the film way beyond its original commissioning brief. Because of Worldview’s support we will be able to extend our project to make both our original broadcast documentary and an international theatrical release and perhaps – with broadcast commitment – a 2 part series.” Lala Rolls, Director