Swastikas and anti-racist graffiti appear on Captain Cook statue in Gisborne

Swastikas and anti-racist slogans have been spraypainted onto a statue of Captain James Cook in Gisborne.

"Black lives matter and so do Māori," was written on the front of the statue's base.

"Take this racist headstone of my people down before I do," it said on the back.

The statue is located in Waikanae Park, near the Tūranganui River.

The graffiti was spotted by a friend of The AM Show host Amanda Gillies, who posted them to her Instagram. It comes after a wave of attacks on statues of colonial-era figures around the world, with demands to take them down.

Last year a different Captain Cook statue in Gisborne was removed from the top of Mt Titirangi and put in a museum.

"We went through a process - we asked our community what they thought and were given some options, and that's the option that we took," then-Mayor Meng Foon told Newshub.

"It's a strange thing to have on the mountain," said local iwi spokesperson Nick Tupara. "Cook didn't have an association with the mountain, and he landed at the base of it."

Also last year, the British High Commissioner gave a formal expression of regret for the killing of Māori when Captain Cook first came ashore. It took less than half an hour from his arrival in Poverty Bay for his men to start killing Māori - which Cook himself expressed regret over in his diary. 

The Cook monument was graffitied last year too, with the words "thief Pākehā". 

Cook arrived in New Zealand in 1769, mapping the islands before heading to Australia. 

Hamilton City Council on Friday removed a seven-year-old statue of a British general who gave his name to the city after threats of vandalism, fearing if it wasn't removed properly it could put the underground carpark below at risk.