Cook com­plaint pre­sented to UN

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A com­plaint has been made at the United Na­tions over the 250th an­niver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tions of Cap­tain Cook, while the Gov­ern­ment pushes ahead with plans to roll out a ‘‘First En­coun­ters’’ pro­gramme in schools next year.

Indige­nous rights ad­vo­cate Tina Ngata laid the com­plaint in April on the grounds that New Zealand’s dis­cov­ery nar­ra­tive – be­ing pro­moted at events for the Tuia En­coun­ters 250 com­mem­o­ra­tion – ‘‘un­der­pinned the de­nial of indige­nous rights’’.

Ngata, who teaches indige­nous and hu­man rights at univer­sity level, said she felt New Zealand had failed to con­demn the ac­tions of Cook.

These ac­tions in­cluded theft, ab­duc­tion, geno­cide and im­pe­rial ex­pan­sion.

‘‘Try­ing to glo­rify this and memo­ri­alise this be­comes prob­lem­atic and goes against where we want to be head­ing,’’ she said.

At the fo­rum held in New York, Ngata ex­plained that the ‘‘Doc­trine of Dis­cov­ery’’ put New Zealand ‘‘a step be­hind in re­al­is­ing indige­nous peo­ple’’ be­cause it went ‘‘against hu­man rights in the global com­mu­nity’’.

The ‘‘Doc­trine of Dis­cov­ery’’ was a doc­u­ment used by Euro­pean monar­chies to le­git­imise the coloni­sa­tion of lands out­side Europe.

Tuia En­coun­ters 250 co-chair and for­mer prime min­is­ter Dame Jenny Ship­ley said there would be ‘‘no Doc­trine of Dis­cov­ery cel­e­bra­tions’’ hap­pen­ing next year.

‘‘Quite the op­po­site, in fact,’’ Ship­ley said. ‘‘We’re cel­e­brat­ing our shared so­ci­ety and ex­plor­ing that theme of what New Zealand has in com­mon while fac­ing up to re­al­i­ties – both good and bad.’’

Ngata, from Ru­a­to­ria near Gis­borne, said New Zealand needed to ad­dress the hu­man rights abuse that had oc­curred since Cook’s ar­rival in 1769.

‘‘We’re just now start­ing to wake up to the re­al­ity that we have some real race is­sues that we need to ad­dress. It would be coun­ter­in­tu­itive to cel­e­brate that act.’’

Ngata said her state­ment was ‘‘well sup­ported’’ by UN of­fi­cials.

Her com­plaint also drew sup­port from many other indige­nous rights groups from other na­tions in at­ten­dance, she added.

Tuia En­coun­ters 250 was be­ing led by the Min­istry of Cul­ture and Her­itage, with a fo­cus on the themes of dual her­itage and shared fu­tures.

The event’s name was a blend be­tween the Ma¯ ori world, Tuia, to weave or bind to­gether, and the Euro­pean con­cept of time and com­mem­o­ra­tion, En­coun­ters 250.

Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion deputy sec­re­tary of par­ent in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­nity in­tel­li­gence Apryll Parata said the Tuia: Ma¯ tau­ranga pro­gramme be­ing rolled out in schools would help sup­port those themes.

Parata said it would also sup­port the dual her­itage and shared fu­ture themes through the doc­u­men­ta­tion of sto­ries with the four land­ing site trusts.

These in­cluded Gis­borne, Ship Cove, in the Marl­bor­ough Sounds, the Bay of Is­lands, and the Coro­man­del Penin­sula.

In Marl­bor­ough, To­taranui 250 Trust co-chair Ray­mond Smith said three sto­ries from the Ship Cove re­gion would feed into the na­tional ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme, which was set to com­mence in 2019.

‘‘The first e-book would fo­cus on the ca­reen­ing of the En­deav­our at Ship Cove,’’ Smith said.

‘‘The sec­ond would fo­cus on Cook’s look­out on Ara­paoa Is­land, and how Cook dis­proved the south­ern con­ti­nent the­ory that New Zealand was just one big is­land.’’

The third e-book would fo­cus on Mo­tu­ara Is­land, which was where Cook ‘‘pro­claimed the South Is­land on be­half of King Ge­orge III’’, said Smith.

‘‘It would ex­plore the sig­nif­i­cance of place names be­fore and af­ter the ar­rival of Euro­peans.’’

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