Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Ngāi Tūāhuriri Upoko Dr Te Maire Tau are welcoming the growing public discussion about how we acknowledge our history.
The pair co-chair the Te Hononga-Papatipu Rūnanga Committee, which binds Christchurch City Council to the six papatipu rūnanga within the Christchurch catchment.
In a joint statement released today, they said:
“The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of our nation and it is important that our public statues and monuments reflect the history of mana whenua and the colonial settlement in this region.
“It is entirely appropriate that the statue of Queen Victoria in Victoria Square is now flanked by two upright waka carved by Ngāi Tahu master carver Fayne Robinson. It is an expression of our partnership that we now have Ngāi Tahu Treaty signatories sitting alongside Queen Victoria.
“We do need to have a discussion on colonial monuments and icons but it needs to occur within the context of the relationship that exists between iwi and Crown.
"The Ngāi Tahu position with Queen Victoria has always been clear in our traditions as our chiefs were signatories to a Treaty with the Crown. All of our tribal elders have always endorsed Queen’s Victoria’s descendants as representatives of that relationship.
"But there are other colonial statues, place names and icons that we would hold with less regard. Ngāi Tahu do not care to celebrate them but they do represent the beliefs of that time and the community should own their past.
"This week’s decision by an Akaroa restaurant owner to change the restaurant’s name from Bully Hayes is a good example of the types of discussion we need to be having. When the restaurant owner became informed of Bully Haye’s role in the slave trade he took a gracious position and agreed to change the name. He should be thanked and acknowledged for his actions.
"Following the upheaval of the earthquakes, Christchurch has been in a position to reconsider how it acknowledges the past.
"Ngāi Tūāhuriri and the city leadership have worked towards a balanced celebration through Matapopore who have taken a leadership role with the city rebuild.
"We have the contribution from Lonnie Hutchinson at the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct. We have Fayne Robinson’s work in Victoria Square that balances Queen Victoria and if you look throughout Christchurch it will reflect modern New Zealand more and more.''