The British envoy to New Zealand rubs noses with a Maori leader
The British envoy to New Zealand rubs noses in traditional greeting while regretting & # 39; – but no apologies – pronounced for Captain Cook's crew who killed native Maoris when they landed 250 years ago
- High Commissioner Laura Clarke met a tribal elder with a native Hongi greeting
- She expressed & # 39; regret & # 39; about the death of Maori, but suddenly stopped with a full apology in the UK
- Nine Maori were killed in a skirmish with the Cook men when he landed in 1769
The British New Zealand envoy today shared a traditional greeting with a Maori leader when she regretted & # 39; expressed the indigenous population killed 250 years ago by British explorers.
High Commissioner Laura Clarke pressed her nose against a tribal elder in a greeting that is nowadays called a hongi in the town of Gisborne, close to where Captain Cook landed in 1769.
In conversation with Maori leaders, Ms. Clarke acknowledged the & # 39; pain & # 39; that the British explorers had caused by killing some of the first indigenous people they encountered.
However, her words did not meet the full apology that some of the British royal family had demanded.
Great Britain's Commissioner for New Zealand Laura Clarke (right) rubs noses with a Maori elder in a traditional Hongi greeting in the town of Gisborne today
Mrs. Clarke today embraces the Maori woman in Gisborne, close to where James Cook landed on the HMS Endeavor 250 years ago and where several indigenous people were killed
Cook saw New Zealand from HMS Endeavor in October 1769 and landed in what he called Poverty Bay.
His men feared they were attacked after they encountered the Maori with weapons, and a fight broke out.
Nine Maori were killed the following days until a Tahitian priest traveling with Cook managed to mediate between the parties.
Many scholars now believe that the Maori were probably only a ceremonial challenge for the Cook men.
Maori tribe Rongowhakaata recently described the first meeting in blunt terms: & # 39; After being here for only two hours, Cook and his crew had entered forbidden territory, terrorized, killed, and stolen. & # 39;
The British High Commission said that the exact wording of Mrs. Clarke's speech to Maori leaders would remain private today.
Laura Clarke (left) wipes her tears after meeting the Maori eldest (right) in Gisborne. Her words did not meet the full apology that some of the British royal family had demanded
They were also careful to point out that the expression of regret today came from the British government and not from the queen or royal family.
They said, however, that Mrs. Clarke hurt the & # 39; pain & # 39; of those first encounters and to express her condolences to the descendants of those who died.
Great Britain has also reduced some of the historical artifacts taken by the Cook crew, including canoe paddles.
The High Commission carefully pointed out that Wednesday's regret came from the British government and not from the British king, Queen Elizabeth II.
The newcomer to Gisborne, commissioner for race relations in New Zealand, also a former mayor of Gisborne, said that Mrs. Clarke's words were another part of the reconciliation and relationship building process.
However, he said that as mayor he had invited the British royal family to come to the Wednesday event, but received no response.
British explorer Captain James Cook (depicted in an 18th-century portrait) saw New Zealand from HMS Endeavor in October 1769 and landed in what he called Poverty Bay
He would have liked Queen Victoria's descendants to have met the Maori descendants who were killed and offered them a full apology, he said. .
& # 39; It's not the end of the story, & # 39; he said about Clarke's speech. & # 39; I believe that future generations will apologize. & # 39;
The Maori have been involved in a decades-long legal process to redress for historical errors under the founding document of New Zealand, the Waitangi Treaty.
The document from 1840 was signed on the British side by envoys from Queen Victoria.
Dozens of tribes have made settlements worth billions of dollars under its provisions.
Captain Cook left New Zealand in early 1770 – called his departure point Cape Farewell – but returned in 1773 and 1777.
He was killed in 1779 in a skirmish with indigenous people in Hawaii.
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