Regional | Education

A celebration, or a commemoration?

National MP Paul Goldsmith wants the fact that Māori and Pākehā did meet, "imperfections and all", to be celebrated through Tuia Encounters 250, which marks 250 years since the arrival of Captain Cook and the Endeavour. The Minister in charge of Tuia 250, Māori-Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis says it's a commemoration, not a celebration.

Minister Davis says, “We're not saying the arrival of Cook should be celebrated, becuase of that massacre at that time where Tairāwhiti ancestors were shot, that's not something to be celebrated.”

In a statement to Te Ao Māori News, National MP Paul Goldsmith says, "There was good and bad that followed Maori reconnection with the rest of the world... Those early encounters weren't all peaceful."

Minister Davis says, “We know that when Cook arrived, our ancestors had already been here for 700 years. But when Cook arrived, we know that a massacre was inflicted on the tribes of Tūranga, so we think we shouldn't celebrate this aspect but remember it instead.”

Paul Goldsmith states, "What should be celebrated is what we have created, Maori and Pākehā together, since those first encounters. And the fact we met. Imperfections and all."

As part of Tuia Encounters 250, a flotilla of European ships and double-hull voyaing canoes will re-visit the locations where the Endeavour made landfall.

Kelvin Davis says, “That's the positive aspect is that we have an opportunity to tell our own stories and stories about our ancestors, to highlight their achievements. Those ancestors who navigated here from the Pacific, they should be celebrated for what they did that's the main thing.”

"The Tuia 250 kaupapa encourages New Zealanders to take an honest, close look at the diverse and complex history of Aotearoa," says Manatū Taonga Deputy Chief Executive Tuia 250 Tamsin Evans.

“In the past, the recording and teaching of New Zealand’s history has often focused on the arrival of James Cook as the beginning of our nation’s story. This account overlooked the earlier feats of voyaging and discovery by the ancestors of Māori, and has rightly been challenged. This is a time to share, debate and reflect – to enable a more balanced telling of our stories, and to guide us as we go forward together", says Evans.

The commemorations will take place from October to December.