New Zealand removes statue of controversial colonist - GulfToday

New Zealand removes statue of controversial colonist

Hamilton statue

Workers remove a controversial statue of Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton from Civic Square in Hamilton.AFP

The New Zealand city of Hamilton on Friday tore down a statue of the colonial military commander after whom it was named, joining a growing list of places worldwide that are reckoning with their past.

A crane hoisted the bronze sculpture of Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton from the town square after requests from local Maori and threats from anti-racism protesters to topple it.

A small group of cheering spectators looked on.

Hamilton City Council acknowledged the statue's extraction was part of a push to remove memorials "which are seen to represent cultural disharmony and oppression" sparked by global anti-racism protests.

"I know many people -- in fact, a growing number of people -- find the statue personally and culturally offensive," mayor Paula Southgate said.


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"We can't ignore what is happening all over the world and nor should we. At a time when we are trying to build tolerance and understanding... I don't think the statue helps us to bridge those gaps."

Hamilton was a naval commander who fought indigenous Maori defending their land against British colonial expansion in the 19th century.

He died at the Battle of Pukehinahina, or Gate Pa, in 1864, when -- in an early example of trench warfare -- a group of Maori in a fortified encampment successfully fended off British troops and artillery, despite being outnumbered.

The statue was donated to the council in 2013 and the council said its removal came after a formal request from the regional iwi, or tribe, Waikato-Tainui.

Statues and place names honouring figures such as slavers and colonial military figures are being reassessed worldwide in response to anti-racism protests sparked by the police killing of African American man George Floyd.

Agence France-Presse. 

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