Iwi and Dutch celebrate 375 years since Maori and Europeans met at the top of the South Island

A range of activities have marked the anniversary of when Maori and European explorers first met at the top of the South Island 375 years ago.

The historic meeting was marked at the site it took place in Golden Bay, with a visit from the descendants of the iwi who first met Abel Tasman's crew in a fiery exchange.

School students and locals re-enacted the fight between part of Abel Tasman's crew and Maori which led to the deaths of four sailors.

"They started off on the wrong foot, there was a fight, but these few days have been about healing and understanding each other and coming together," Dutch Ambassador Robert Zaagman told 1 NEWS.

The ambassador, along with a contingent from the Netherlands, travelled to Golden Bay to retrace the path of the Dutch seafarer who put New Zealand on the world map.

The Dutch weren't the only ones welcomed back to the region, with the original descendants of the iwi who met Tasman, Ngati Tumatakokiri, being formally acknowledged for the first time by the manawhenua of the area.

"To be here today, 2017, talking to the Dutch ambassador and going for a bumpy ride to Farewell Spit with six Dutchmen around me. It was tumeke," Doug Huria said.

The Dutch visitors were given a large piece of greenstone to take back with them to commemorate the occasion.

Abel Tasman's crew met Maori in a fiery exchange in Golden Bay in 1642. Source: 1 NEWS