Have plat­form, so will protest

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Cap­tain James Cook’s ar­rival in New Zealand in 1769 was never an is­sue until plan­ning for the 250th an­niver­sary be­gan, ac­cord­ing to Hobson’s Pledge spokes­woman Casey Costello.

“The plat­form was cre­ated and the pro­test­ers ap­peared,” she said in re­sponse to Tina Ngata, who was in New York to ad­dress the United Na­tions Per­ma­nent Fo­rum on Indige­nous Is­sues about New Zealand’s com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 250th an­niver­sary of Cook’s land­ing in Gis­borne. Ngata told Ra­dio New Zealand there was no cause for cel­e­bra­tion.

Ma¯ori were still very ma­mae, [hurt] and were still labour­ing under his­tor­i­cal and en­dur­ing rights vi­o­la­tions as a re­sult of the event be­ing com­mem­o­rated, she said.

“The sug­ges­tion that Ma¯ori are labour­ing under any type of pain or hard­ship as a re­sult of Cap­tain Cook’s ar­rival has no foun­da­tion,” Ms Costello said. “When was the first com­plaint about Cook’s ar­rival? It was never an is­sue in our fam­ily. Has a com­plaint about him been taken to the Wai­tangi Tri­bunal in the last 30 years? Any protest in the 1960s? Did any­one raise the is­sue as the Treaty of Wai­tangi was signed? No.

“The protests

sud­denly ap­peared when plans for the 250th an­niver­sary ap­peared. The plat­form was cre­ated and the pro­test­ers ap­peared.”

Ms Costello claimed pro­test­ers were “not shy about telling porkies”. She quoted Ms Ngata:

“When some­body lands and then shoots the first per­son that they see, and then the next day shoots an­other 15, and then wants to get a closer look at a waka so they shoot every­body in the waka so they can get a closer look at it and every­body in that waka was un­armed, they were just fisher peo­ple.”

That had been the sub­ject of “quite a de­bate” in Gis­borne, prompt­ing Hobson’s Pledge to look at Cook’s jour­nal. On Oc­to­ber 9, 1769, he at­tempted to land in two small boats. “Na­tives” surged from the woods bran­dish­ing weapons. Two vol­leys were fired over their heads, and a third vol­ley aimed at them killed one.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing Cook found a men­ac­ing crowd bran­dish­ing clubs and pikes and be­gan a haka. About 30 warriors re­jected gifts, and at­tempted to grab weapons from Cook’s men. When one of them ran off with the as­tronomer’s cut­lass, Cook gave the order to fire, killing an­other and in­jur­ing three.

A few days later there was an­other skir­mish when Ma¯ori in boats at­tempted to throw mis­siles and pro­jec­tiles. Warned by shots over their heads, they were fired on and two or three were killed.

“In other words, Cook’s jour­nal is clear,” she said. “Four or five Ma¯ori were killed, the only query be­ing if one was killed or in­jured, and all deaths re­sulted from Ma¯ori ag­gres­sion. The pro­test­ers should tell the truth.

“What evidence is there that Ma¯ori lived in peace, har­mony, health and pros­per­ity until Cap­tain Cook sailed into the East Coast bay? What evidence is there that these groups would have been in bet­ter shape to­day (or even sur­vived) if Cap­tain Cook had never reached this coun­try?

“Im­ply­ing that the visit by Cap­tain Cook 250 years ago is to blame for Ma¯ori hav­ing the worst out­comes in health, education and jus­tice is ridicu­lous. For in­stance, life ex­pectancy for Ma¯ori has im­proved vastly with coloni­sa­tion, from around 30 years in 1840 to 75 years in 2013.”

The pub­li­ca­tion of false­hoods could in­cite re­sent­ment, ha­tred and vi­o­lence, she said. The mil­lions of New Zealand cit­i­zens who were proud of their shared history of hard work and sac­ri­fice should not be de­nied the op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate the an­niver­sary of Cap­tain Cook the ex­plorer, who opened the way for the coun­try all now en­joyed. Mana leader Hone Harawira’s in­vi­ta­tion to Correction­s Min­is­ter Kelvin Davis and Des­tiny Church leader Brian Tamaki to sit down over dinner to dis­cuss the in­tro­duc­tion of the Man Up pro­gramme to pris­ons has piqued media in­ter­est in the prospects of Mr Harawira re­launch­ing his par­lia­men­tary ca­reer.

“Very quickly ques­tions turn to the possibilit­y of my run­ning for Par­lia­ment again with Brian Tamaki, or Shane Jones, or Lance O’Sullivan, or any­one else,” said Mr Harawira, who lost Te Tai Tok­erau to Mr Davis in 2014.

“While I un­der­stand that that might be a juicy morsel for your view­ers and lis­ten­ers, I won’t be re­spond­ing to media spec­u­la­tion on the is­sue,” he added how­ever.

“My focus is on sup­port­ing the ef­forts to have Man Up con­sid­ered for fund­ing from the Depart­ment of Correction­s, to as­sist their work in the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Ma¯ori men who very few oth­ers can reach.

“I re­spect your right to ask the ques­tion. Please un­der­stand that my re­sponse will be to turn the focus back on to the primary is­sue — sup­port for the Man Up pro­gramme.”


Casey Costello, with Don Brash at a Hobson’s Pledge func­tion in 2017.

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