Hundreds have their say over Endeavour models
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.”