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Captain Cook Statue Update

June 26, 2020

Joint Public Statement from Pahia Turia, Chair of Runanga Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa and Andy Watson, Mayor Rangitīkei District Council regarding Captain Cook Statue, Marton

Recently it came to Councils notice that the Captain Cook Statue in the main street of Marton was likely to be vandalised. The decision was made by the Chief Executive, Peter Beggs and the Mayor, Andy Watson to protect it until such time that Council had a chance to discuss it, in conjunction with Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa, the tangata whenua of this area.

Council has now resolved to remove the protection around the Cook statue. Additionally, Council agreed to remove the plaque recording that Captain James Cook was the discoverer of New Zealand as this is debated by Iwi whose ancestors are recorded to have sailed to these lands many centuries earlier.

Both Council and Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa recognise that there is a wider conversation to be had and that little would be gained by vandalism to a historic statue or its removal.

According to Iwi Chair, Pahia Turia, “Our Iwi Rūnanga believes that the removal of statues and monuments doesn’t address the fact that communities in New Zealand do not have an adequate understanding of our shared Māori and European history.”

The Council and Iwi have committed to working together to publicly acknowledge and honour local iwi history and identity alongside that of early European history and heritage, so that the histories of both cultures can be equally visible in the community.