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Online petition to stop Endeavour replica visit

A petition to the Government to stop the Endeavour replica from coming to New Zealand is being shared online.

Gisborne will be the first port of call in October for a flotilla of waka and historical tall ships on a voyage around New Zealand to mark the 250th anniversary of the first encounters between Maori and Europeans in October 1769.

Tuia 250 co-chair Dame Jenny Shipley earlier this year said a replica of Captain James Cook’s Endeavour would be included in the Tuia Encounters 250 event.

The fleet will stay in Gisborne for five days before sailing to Uawa/Tolaga Bay on October 10.

It will depart Uawa/Tolaga Bay between October 12 and 16 to travel around the country.

The flotilla will stop at destinations along the way before making their way back to Mahia on December 15.

The petition, started by a group called Kia Mau, was launched from the change.org website on Sunday, and as of this morning had received 681 signatures.

The synopsis written by Kia Mau says “Aotearoa New Zealand has a racism problem” and that the return of the Endeavour is “unnecessary”.

“The very roots of racism in Aotearoa begin with the arrival of James Cook, who arrived here in 1769 and claimed land under orders of the British Crown.”

“As recorded by Cook and his crew, they shot at, maimed and killed Maori in Turanganui-a-Kiwa, Heretaunga, Whakaari, Ahuahu, Te Whanganui a Hei, Te Tai Tokerau, and Totaranui.

“Further killings and torture happened across Te Moananui a Kiwa. This began a history of British supremacy over the lands, and bodies, of Maori that still exists to this very day.

“The arrival of the Endeavour is not merely a historic event, it is a painful inception of colonial entitlement that we still experience today.

“We experience it in the continued loss of lands, in the degradation of our culture, heritage and reo, in the denial of effective healthcare or housing, and in the taking of our children from our homes.

“For many communities the return of the Endeavour is anything but healing. It is hurtful, unsafe and unnecessary.

“It creates contexts for re-entrenching hurtful colonial fictions that underpin racism in Aotearoa.

“It wrongfully equates British imperial expansion with Polynesian navigation in a way that avoids the harmful impacts of imperial expansion in Aotearoa and the Pacific.

“It is a careless use of millions of dollars and sends the wrong signal about where we are at, where we should be and where we want to be in our journey towards racial justice in Aotearoa.”

Kia Mau has a Facebook group, which is described as “a space where we, Tangata Whenua, can korero about the true history of Aotearoa, New Zealand”.

The Endeavour Replica should not attend the Tuia 250 commemorations, says a group which has launched an online petition against the ship’s visit. Picture supplied