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Tuia 250 commemorations underway as replica of Captain Cook's Endeavour docks in Gisborne

There were mixed emotions today as a replica of Captain Cook's Endeavor docked in Gisborne for Tuia 250 commemorations.

The ceremony marks the British explorer's landing 250 years ago. Māori were killed during encounters with crew of the Endeavour and last week the British Government formally expressed regret over the deaths.

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Today’s commemorations in Gisborne attracted dignitaries and protestors. Source: 1 NEWS

A karakia, described by those who attended as "warm", was held this morning about 6am.

"The whole point of it was to come together in the spirit of healing and most importantly remembrance", 1 NEWS Māori Affairs reporter Yvonne Tahana from Gisborne today.

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1 NEWS Māori Affairs reporter Yvonne Tahana is in Gisborne for Tuia 250 commemorations. Source: Breakfast

Organisers are hoping the event will unify the two cultures of New Zealand, although some say it has sparked controversy.

Local iwi had refused to give a welcoming pōwhiri for the replica but will be present to honour their tipuna who were killed during their first encounters with the European explorer.

The three double-hulled sailing canoes of the flotilla which landed on Saturday were set to meet the arriving ships, the HMB Endeavour replica from Australia, the Spirit of New Zealand and the R. Tucker Thompson.

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1 NEWS reporter Sean Hogan spoke to Breakfast from Gisborne. Source: Breakfast

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The ceremony marking first contact between Māori and Cook’s crew has been met with mixed emotions. Source: 1 NEWS