Shipley puts Gisborne in the limelight for 250th

Dame Jenny says plans to mark 250th anniversary of first encounter between Maori and James Cook and crew of the Endeavour will give us technological and economic legacy.

Dame Jenny says plans to mark 250th anniversary of first encounter between Maori and James Cook and crew of the Endeavour will give us technological and economic legacy.

DUAL HERITAGE: Tairawhiti Museum director Eloise Wallace, museum kaitiaki Tapunga Nepe, Rongowhakaata representatives Thelma Karaitiana and Lisa Taylor, with Dame Jenny Shipley and Heather Baggott from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage take a look at the museum's Ko Rongowhakaata exhibition. Picture by Liam Clayton

NEW ZEALAND’S first female Prime Minister says national plans to mark the 250th anniversary of the first encounter between Maori and James Cook and the crew of the Endeavour, will put Gisborne in the limelight and leave us with a technological and economic legacy.

Dame Jenny Shipley is chairwoman for the national co-ordinating committee for First Encounters 250. Speaking to The Gisborne Herald during a two-day visit to the region yesterday, she said Gisborne’s story would be in the limelight both in the lead-up to the date and the anniversary of the meeting.

“There will be a major national event on the encounter day and it will be the focus of national attention.”

The Government has already committed $3.5 million towards the New Zealand-wide First Encounters 250 voyage through its major events fund, and is planning a flotilla, including James Cook’s Endeavour replica, to visit Gisborne and the other landing sites as part of the commemorative programme.

Another $2m has been committed to build on tourism opportunities here in the build-up to the occasion.
Dame Jenny said it was important that events were looked at with “dual lenses”.

While there had been tragic pieces to the Gisborne encounter, the Tolaga Bay encounter had been more positive.

“We want to be honest about the history but also excited about the development. There will also be a lot of focus on voyaging itself and there will be a big event about a week before to acknowledge the blue-water sailing capability of those who came first. Gisborne will see what I hope will be a spectacular exhibition. Not only New Zealand craft, but we are also in the process of trying to bring them from the Pacific.

“We want to celebrate the fact that this is a maritime nation.”

Careful listening

Her role during this visit had been to listen carefully and plan an event that would provide a “great success for the people of Gisborne”.

“Just as the first light event was a national event as well as a local event, this is a very important event from a New Zealand point of view.”

The commemorations would explore the dual history of Maori and European blue-water exploration, as well as the role of the Tahitian, Tupaia, in not only getting the Endeavour to Gisborne but also helping to improve relations.

“One of my roles as chairwoman of the commemorations committee is to actually come to each of the landing sites — Gisborne in particular — because of its enormous historic importance as the first encounter between Maori and Cook, and it’s the encounter, in particular, that we want to focus on in this commemoration.

“The purpose of the commemoration is not to rewrite history but to speak honestly about what occurred and Gisborne will be seen in that lens. The dramatic nature of those encounters, honestly told, is going to be an important part of our story.”

Shared breath

Although the explorer Abel Tasman sighted land before James Cook, the closeness of the encounter between Maori and the Endeavour crew, and the shared breath between Cook and a Maori warrior, was a “nationhood-building birth moment”.

“We think that technology can now help us capture some of those experiences.

“It won’t just be here in Gisborne. There will be significant legacy events and we hope that when tourists come to Gisborne they can capture, with the swipe of a cell phone, the imagery that sits all around Gisborne and all over the region.”

"The economic development challenge we have at each of the four landing sites is to present those stories in such a way that they have economic value.

“Part of the funding available won’t be just to have a commemoration and a great experience.

“Some of the funding will also focus on how we capture the stories honestly and make them available for years to come, not only in a museum but on the street and on live IT platforms.”

NEW ZEALAND’S first female Prime Minister says national plans to mark the 250th anniversary of the first encounter between Maori and James Cook and the crew of the Endeavour, will put Gisborne in the limelight and leave us with a technological and economic legacy.

Dame Jenny Shipley is chairwoman for the national co-ordinating committee for First Encounters 250. Speaking to The Gisborne Herald during a two-day visit to the region yesterday, she said Gisborne’s story would be in the limelight both in the lead-up to the date and the anniversary of the meeting.

“There will be a major national event on the encounter day and it will be the focus of national attention.”

The Government has already committed $3.5 million towards the New Zealand-wide First Encounters 250 voyage through its major events fund, and is planning a flotilla, including James Cook’s Endeavour replica, to visit Gisborne and the other landing sites as part of the commemorative programme.

Another $2m has been committed to build on tourism opportunities here in the build-up to the occasion.
Dame Jenny said it was important that events were looked at with “dual lenses”.

While there had been tragic pieces to the Gisborne encounter, the Tolaga Bay encounter had been more positive.

“We want to be honest about the history but also excited about the development. There will also be a lot of focus on voyaging itself and there will be a big event about a week before to acknowledge the blue-water sailing capability of those who came first. Gisborne will see what I hope will be a spectacular exhibition. Not only New Zealand craft, but we are also in the process of trying to bring them from the Pacific.

“We want to celebrate the fact that this is a maritime nation.”

Careful listening

Her role during this visit had been to listen carefully and plan an event that would provide a “great success for the people of Gisborne”.

“Just as the first light event was a national event as well as a local event, this is a very important event from a New Zealand point of view.”

The commemorations would explore the dual history of Maori and European blue-water exploration, as well as the role of the Tahitian, Tupaia, in not only getting the Endeavour to Gisborne but also helping to improve relations.

“One of my roles as chairwoman of the commemorations committee is to actually come to each of the landing sites — Gisborne in particular — because of its enormous historic importance as the first encounter between Maori and Cook, and it’s the encounter, in particular, that we want to focus on in this commemoration.

“The purpose of the commemoration is not to rewrite history but to speak honestly about what occurred and Gisborne will be seen in that lens. The dramatic nature of those encounters, honestly told, is going to be an important part of our story.”

Shared breath

Although the explorer Abel Tasman sighted land before James Cook, the closeness of the encounter between Maori and the Endeavour crew, and the shared breath between Cook and a Maori warrior, was a “nationhood-building birth moment”.

“We think that technology can now help us capture some of those experiences.

“It won’t just be here in Gisborne. There will be significant legacy events and we hope that when tourists come to Gisborne they can capture, with the swipe of a cell phone, the imagery that sits all around Gisborne and all over the region.”

"The economic development challenge we have at each of the four landing sites is to present those stories in such a way that they have economic value.

“Part of the funding available won’t be just to have a commemoration and a great experience.

“Some of the funding will also focus on how we capture the stories honestly and make them available for years to come, not only in a museum but on the street and on live IT platforms.”

Linking the elements

Part of planning for 2019 includes a redevelopment of Cook’s Gisborne landing site.

Department of Conservation conservation services ranger Jamie Quirk said while there were no firm plans for the Cook Landing Site National Historic Reserve at present, there was an initial concept plan that included “broad themes” such as a bridge, access ramp and interpretation panels.

“The concept plans link the reserve to the Navigations Project and Titirangi Project. This is to allow for better and safer physical access for the public, and to allow for the storytelling of the sites to be interlinked and cohesive. Work will be completed before October 2019.

“When the final plans and funding are in place, they will be available to the public.”

The concept plan included a proposal that accommodated the ‘‘cone of vision’’ and gathered together a number of ideas that had been around for a number of years — a bridge access over Rakaitane Road from the landing site reserve to Titirangi to enhance pedestrian/cycle access, inclusion of iwi on site, alteration of gardens and some hard surfaces, with integrated interpretation that linked the Navigations Project in a cohesive manner.

“This concept plan has been broadly discussed with iwi, the port, GDC, Heritage NZ and NZTA. It has not been in the public arena, as further discussion on what needs to be done and who will be responsible is still to be worked through.”

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Manu Caddie - 2 years ago
Amazing how Jenny Shipley can complain about 'middle-class welfare' in her recent interview with Guyon Espiner saying she feels bad about the subsidised doctor visits she can't opt out of - yet she still claims Prime Ministerial pension cars and hundreds of thousands in annual travel subsidies she can opt out of - while also being paid over a thousand dollars a day from the government for her role with the Cook commemorations.

Alvina Edwards, Hamilton - 2 years ago
What a pathetic waste of funds, for what? How about teaching the correct New Zealand history, that is worth knowing.

Sarah Clifton - 2 years ago
"While there were tragic pieces to the Gisborne encounter" seems to be as close to "capturing the stories honestly" as this exercise in tourism dares to come . . . . Are we going to see some local iwi shot from long boats, some kidnapping maybe? No, I doubt it. What a lovely, clean whitewashed history you continue to permeate to generations of people residing in Aotearoa. Scratch the surface though and there's a disgusting injustice blanketing our country that you can't make go away no matter how you try to pretty it up.

Thelma Karaitiana - 2 years ago
I like the photo but I find the content of the article is rubbish. The article is devoid of context, almost as if the reporter was never there. If they were there they would know during the first day of her visit to the region, Dame J Shipley and her team were accorded a powhiri by the iwi of Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Mahaki and Ngai Tamanuhiri. If your reporter was present he /she could have reported on the Te Ha presentation by Richard Brooking or the update of the Navigations Project by Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp or the presentation by Ngai Tamanuhiri concerning the British Museum Collections of artifacts from Turanganui a Kiwa. Your article could have reported on the plain-speaking that was had between the Dame and iwi members. Then he/she (reporter) might make a note of the Dame enjoying the Ko Rongowhakaata Exhibition at Te Tairawhiti Museum. It's a shame you weren't there.

Footnote: Thank you for the added context. We were not invited to other aspects of the visit. In fact, our interview with Dame Jenny Shipley was only arranged on Friday when we heard that she was visiting and requested time for an interview. A Rongowhakaata representative said it was an oversight that we were not invited to the events earlier in the day and The Herald would be invited to future such events. Ed

winstonmoreton - 2 years ago
It scares me that someone like former PM Dame Jenny Shipley, remote from Tairawhiti, should be leading something that should be led by a Tairawhiti Dame. It also scares me that ECT is so prominent (and lavish with our electricity money - think $3mil) in the secret planning of what should be an annual national event to replace Waitangi Day; centred on Te Ha (the hongi on Te Toka-a-Taiau) aka the Landings. ECT owns the port through The Eastland Group and will put profit from logs ahead of national heritage.

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