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Hundreds have their say over Endeavour models

Chance to comment on models sparks wildly different reactions.

Debate continues to rage over the Endeavour models, with more than 400 comments already posted on Gisborne District Council's consultation website.

Public outcry saw the council backtrack on its decision in May to reinstate the models in Gisborne city without consultation.

To tangata whenua, the ship can be a symbol of colonisation and oppression.

The council decided in June to instead seek feedback on where to put the models, launching a website for submissions on July 20.

The comments and proposed locations put forward online swing wildly from returning the models to their original Gladstone Road location or to “the bottom of the ocean and then blown into smithereens”.

Anyone can make a public submission here.

Submitters are required to provide only an email address and their comments are uploaded immediately, although the council said they were screened for swear words.

“We count multiple submissions from the same email as one valid submission,” customer engagement manager Anita Reedy-Holthausen said.

The council admits it will not be able to tell if a person makes multiple submissions by using various email addresses —“just as if someone chooses to write more than one hard-copy submission using false names and addresses”, Ms Reedy-Holthausen said.

People can anonymously “like” or “dislike” comments submitted online.

Ms Reedy-Holthausen said likes and dislikes were a gauge of public opinion but would not be treated as submissions, “nor do they give additional weight to the original submission”.

“We believe the Endeavour models issue is an important one and people from outside the region are open to comment,” she said. “Our target audience, however, is the people of the Gisborne district.”

The council kept its Fitzherbert Street headquarters open until 7pm from Monday to Thursday for people to make submissions in person.

Submissions can still be dropped off at the council or HB Williams Memorial Library, or sent to feedback@gdc.govt.nz, until August 16.

The two original Endeavour models, built from lightweight marine plywood, were installed in 1969 for the 200th anniversary of James Cook's landing at Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay.

The models were expected to be temporary but remained on poles in Gladstone Road, at intersections with Peel and Grey streets, until they were replaced in 1978 by models built by Gisborne Boys' High School students.

The students' models were also in Gladstone Road but near intersections with Chalmers Road and Derby Street.

Those models were refurbished in 1999 and again in 2010, before being taken down in 2016 because they were falling to bits.

The council has put $28,000 towards reinstating the models, which have a vocal proponent in former district councillor Malcolm MacLean, who was voted out at the 2019 election.

Along with Martin Kibble, whose late father John helped restore the original models, Mr MacLean led a campaign to raise the $48,000 needed to get new aluminium models of the Endeavour built.

The new models, completed in September 2019, each weigh 200 kilograms and require new poles, at a cost of about $30,000, to hold them.

The council said its decision to financially support the models' restoration preceded the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If the council was posed with the same funding decision in the current climate . . . the outcome may have been different.”

Endeavour replica. The Gisborne Herald file picture

  1. A McKellow says:

    We elect our councils to lead.
    We can expect the hard decisions to be made even in the face of controversy.
    The public gets their opportunity to decide on the wisdom of these decisions at the next elections.
    Looking at the make-up of this council – there are several members who have completed several terms. The public has made their decision by re-electing them and thereby supporting their prior decision-making.
    That is democracy working.
    Indecision and backtracking signal a lack of confidence in the powers given by our vote.

  2. K Thompson says:

    Your article says “Public outcry saw the council backtrack”, this is misleading. It implies there were great numbers objecting to the proposal whereas in truth it was a very noisy minority that scared the council into cowering in their chamber for fear of upsetting voters. This council makes decisions by listening to volume and not numbers or reason. Remember this at the next elections.

    1. Eruera Waitai says:

      It wasn’t a small minority, unless you call roughly 50 percent of this district a “small minority”

      1. A McKellow says:

        A minority by definition would be anything under 50%.
        What were the actual figures?
        Democracy works by acceptance of majority opinion otherwise we have some other form of governance.
        Is democracy the sort of government we want in these times?

    2. Ken Ovenden says:

      Well, what will the powers in the council do? That is the million-dollar question. Articles like the one in the latest Herald certainly do not help, as it would be very clear to readers and submitters that the input so far does not “swing wildly”,the vast majority indicate “put back where they were”. But will this even be noticed, or will the council just run for cover again? Wait and see.

    3. Lloyd Gretton, Auckland says:

      That is contradictory. The council members weren’t afraid of the voters. Most voters want them back to where they were before.

      1. Ken Ovenden says:

        Sorry, I cannot pick up your problem there as, yes, most people want the art replaced.

  3. James Milner says:

    Send the boat up to Uawa and all our problems will be over.