Captain Cook finally going inside after 50 years

2019-04-30 09:50:28

Captain Cook will go indoors for the first time in 50 years in May, and his first port of call will be the museum.

And he probably won't move again any time soon – "he" is a statue replica of the 18th century explorer.

The Cook replica statue will be moved on Friday, May 3, from its current spot on Titirangi into the care of Tairāwhiti Museum.

Gisborne District Council (GDC) approved the statue's relocation in September last year.

GDC liveable communities director Andrew White said the statue would be stored temporarily and cleaned up, while a new home was prepared in the museum.

"The Cook replica has a story that should be told."

Since his (second) arrival at a bicentenary event in 1969, the bronze replica, its placement and likeness to Cook had been heavily debated by the community.

"The museum is the appropriate location to acknowledge its significance in our region's history, with the benefits of making it accessible to people and providing a level of protection from further vandalism."

Tairāwhiti Museum planned to reinstate the statue and plaque on museum grounds along with new interpretation to help visitors understand the history of the statue.

Museum director Eloise Wallace said it would be displayed at the museum, not as a monument to Cook, but as a historical artefact.

"That can help us understand the changing perspectives and approaches of our community to acknowledging our histories, the events of October 1769, and their long repercussions.

"Once the statue has been removed we'll be able to safely assess its condition and finalise our plans for installing it before the commemorations in October this year."

Over the past few months, the museum had been researching the history of the statue and was in the process of developing new "interpretation panels" to accompany it, including images and stories to explain its history and significance to the city.

"Its story connects to other objects in the museum's collection including 'Not Cook's Cannon', which we recently returned to public display, and other artefacts and objects relating to 1769 and commemorations of that event."

The council is completing minor upgrades, pavement resurfacing and native planting at lookouts and carparks on Titirangi as part of the restoration project.

More significant work was to be planned for the Cook Plaza site and as a location with outstanding views of the city and "story-telling potential", according to the council.

A tidy up of the site will be completed in the meantime, and a design developed at a later date.

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