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Published 3 October 2019

Britain expresses regret for killing of Māori during Captain Cook’s landing 250 years ago

Yesterday British High Commissioner Laura Clarke issued a formal expression of regret to the iwi of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa for the violence that marked the arrival of James Cook and the HMS Endeavour, which resulted in the death of nine Māori men.

The expression of regret was made on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The British High Commissioner Laura Clarke has been working closely with leaders of Gisborne iwi Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Te Aitanga a-Māhaki and Ngāti Oneone for many months to prepare for this meeting.

The intimate and emotional ceremony took place yesterday at Te Poho o Rawiri and Whakato Marae, which was attended by Royal Society Te Apārangi senior managers.

It has been a privilege for the Society to invited by iwi to be a part of this unique opportunity for a reconciliation and part of the wider iwi-led collaboration and cross organisational partnership to support the counter narrative and iwi research of the Cook landing in their rohe and his first encounters with the mana whenua. 

Iwi of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa say the unprecedented expression of regret by the British government for the harm caused when James Cook arrived in New Zealand in 1769 opens a new chapter in their history.

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Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi