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Ed Sheeran

Ngāti Hei share Cook history

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The narrative that Māori saw the arrival of Captain James Cook in Aotearoa New Zealand as an invasion by a murderous pirate is being challenged in a new book.

The British navigator's legacy is being questioned in the lead up to October's Tuia 250 commemoration of Cook's landings.

But in their book When Toawaka Met Cook, authors and Mercury Bay historians John Steele and Richard Gates say the Endeavour's arrival in Te Whanganui o Hei - Mercury Bay was seen as an omen of change.

They say according to Ngāti Hei's Joe Davis, his ancestor Toawaka believed the 'pale-faced strangers with all their new powers' might help him and his people develop a better way of life, after years of brutal warfare and invasion by other tribes.

Cook's visit over 12 days in November 1769 was seen as amicable encounter, and he was given the very first pōwhiri accorded a European in the tribe's Wharetaewa pā a few days before the Endeavour sailed.

When Toawaka Met Cook will be released on June 22.

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