It’s not the European heritage; it’s the settler heritage: Joshua Cheetham, Frances Mao, ‘The countries grappling with their European heritage’, BBC News, 19/09/19

19Sep19

Excerpt: Next month, a fleet of ships will circumnavigate New Zealand to mark 250 years since the arrival of European settlers.

Their journey is part of Tuia 250, a NZ$13.5m ($8.5m; £6.8m) government initiative to celebrate New Zealand’s “Pacific voyaging heritage”.

Among the flotilla is a replica of Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour, which landed in the country in 1769 and led to the first contact between Europeans and indigenous Māoris.

But not all plans have proved to be plain sailing.

After complaints by Māoris, this week organisers cancelled HMS Endeavour’s scheduled stop in the North Island village of Mangonui.

Anahera Herbert-Graves, head of the Northland Ngāti Kahu iwi, told the BBC that the idea was “historically confusing and quite rude”.

“The celebration is a renewal of the colonial myth that they discovered us,” said Ms Herbert Graves. “We’re looking at people who behaved like barbarians wherever they went in the Pacific”. […] 

In neighbouring Australia, where Captain Cook also landed, many Aboriginal groups have spoken out against the celebration of Australia Day, which marks the anniversary of British settlement. Some critics have dubbed it as Invasion Day.

“Nobody is denying that Cook arrived,” said Ms Herbert Graves. “What we’re saying is why commemorate Cook to lead on the story? You wouldn’t commemorate Adolf Hitler’s contribution to modern motorways in order to tell the story of Jewish endurance.”

 



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