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Cook statue moving to museum

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The next chapter in the much deliberated story of the Cook replica statue will begin this week with work to move the statue from the Cook Plaza planned for Friday 3 May (weather dependent).

In September last year, Council approved the relocation of the statue from its position on Titirangi into the care of Tairāwhiti Museum.

"The statue will be stored temporarily and cleaned up, while a new home and interpretation plan is prepared that pays respect to the statue and its colourful history," says Director for Liveable Communities Andrew White.

Since local authorities acquired the bronze replica for the bicentenary event in 1969, its placement and likeness to Cook have been heavily debated by the community.

"The Cook replica has a story that should be told," says Mr White.

"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 will reinstate the statue and plaque on museum grounds along with new interpretation to help visitors understand the history of the statue.

Tairāwhiti Museum Director Eloise Wallace says it will 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," says Ms Wallace.

"Over the past few months we’ve been researching the history of the statue and are in the process of developing new interpretation panels to accompany it, with images and stories which will 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."

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

More significant work will be planned for the Cook Plaza site due to its current condition and as a location with outstanding views of the city and story-telling potential.

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

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