By Joshua Cheetham & Frances Mao BBC News
18 September 2019
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”.
She added that local indigenous groups were also insulted because organisers had not consulted them beforehand: “They just assumed they had the right to do so”.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Culture was not immediately available for comment.