Gisborne Captain Cook statue to be moved

The statue.
The statue. Photo credit: Gisborne District Council

A statue of Captain Cook will be removed from its position overlooking the ocean in Gisborne.

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

The Gisborne District Council announced plans to remove the statue on Monday, saying it will be put on display at Tairawhiti museum.

"The Cooks Plaza will be upgraded so iwi stories and cultural design elements can be shared from this significant location," the council said in a statement.

"It includes new paving and concrete treatment to create an aesthetic and safe gathering space. The brick curved wall, erected when the plaza was created as part of the 1969 Bicentenary Commemoration of Cook arrival, will be removed, but the bricks possibly retained to be incorporated in new seating."

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 said the move reflects a change in attitudes in the area.

"I think that this move of having that statue taken off is again in time with this 2019 sestercentennial our heritage stories being told from both sides, but also truth, which is what we want - we want honest narrative," she told Māori Television.