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What to do with Cook Plaza?

FURTHER discussion is needed on how the Cook Plaza on the summit of Titirangi/Kaiti Hill should be redeveloped, Gisborne District Council’s Future Tairawhiti committee was told yesterday.

The committee heard that the replica statue of Captain James Cook, known colloquially as the “Crook Cook”, would be removed and the site would be made tidy in time for the Te Ha 2019 sestercentennial celebrations in October.

A review of major projects presented to the committee said the Titirangi restoration project team had been working on a concept design with Ngati Oneone for the Cook Plaza that would “accurately and authentically reflect our diverse story regarding the arrival of Cook”.

While the design was considered important for the overall outcome of the site, the funding for it would be sourced separately from the Titirangi restoration budget and would be considered a new project that would require approvals before it could proceed.

Discussions with Tairawhiti Museum regarding the relocation of the replica Cook had progressed well.

There was a January site visit involving Currie Construction, who have experience in removing, moving and storing statues and monuments. They offered a site for restoration at no charge should it be required.

Once the statue was restored, Currie Construction was happy to install it at the museum, ready for unveiling.

Malcolm MacLean said he had a discussion with a Ngati Oneone representative about the replica Cook and asked why it should be moved.

Why did they not look at putting one of the Maori chief of the time alongside it?

It was in a terrific position overlooking the bay and Gisborne itself. He was told that is was worth a discussion.

Larry Foster said he had no problem with the removal of the replica Cook but there was the issue of what was going to go in its place and the need for separate funding.

Would what was going to replace it be there for the 2019 commemorations and what was it going to look like?

Council liveable communities director Andrew White said the statue would be removed in April or May, and the site would be tidy for October.

The redesign was going to take a little longer to do as there was work to be done with Ngati Oneone .

District council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said the council had made a resolution to remove the statue and the museum had made preparations to receive it.

HIS WATCH ENDING: Fifty years after a statue of Captain Cook was unveiled at Cook’s Plaza on Kaiti Hill as part of the 1969 Cook bi-centenary, the bronze replica of Lieutenant James Cook is to be relocated to Tairawhiti Museum. Removal work is scheduled to start on Friday. File picture
DAYS ARE NUMBERED: Concept plans for redevelopment of the Cook Plaza on Titirangi (Kaiti Hill) include removal of the curved brick wall built for the 1969 Cook Bicentenary celebrations, and relocation of the Cook statue, the so-called ‘Crook Cook’, to Tairawhiti Museum. Picture by Paul Rickard