‘He’s been dead a long time’: Gisborne Mayor on plans to remove Captain Cook statue

Drive 02/10/2018
Photo: Gisborrne District Council.

Gisborne District Council has announced plans to remove a statue of Captain Cook overlooking the ocean.

Local iwi Ngāti Oneone had long opposed the statue sitting on their ancestral mountain, Titirangi. 

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon says it will be put on display at Tairawhiti museum instead.

He’s been dead a long time.

“We’re going to honour the past with Ngāti Oneone and they will decide what’s going to go on their mountain,” Mr Foon told RadioLIVE Drive.

He says the council wants to give local iwi a chance to tell their stories.

“Obviously there is a place for Captain Cook; there’s a big monument at the bottom of the hill called the Cook Monument, and that was erected around 1902,” Mr Foon said.

Iwi pokesperson Barney Tupara told Māori Television the statue's removal will allow for more balanced representation at the commemorations of the 250th Cook anniversary.

"To celebrate the Māori history of this area and the ancestors who arrived here before Captain Cook," he said.

Councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown told RadioLIVE that it’s been a long discussion for the region.

“That maunga should have a representative of the local iwi. James Cook never climbed Titirangi,” she said.

Ms Akuhata-Brown said local iwi were not consulted when it was first erected.

Listen to the full interview with Meng Foon above.

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