"It's outrageous we don't know our own history" - Dame Jenny Shipley

By Te Ao with MOANA

Dame Jenny Shipley, the co-chair of Tuia 250 Encounters, says the upcoming commemorations for the arrival of Captain Cook 250 years ago will be very evenly handled, with both tangata whenua and pākehā cultures celebrated.

"This is a very even celebration of our voyaging history, I can promise you.  It is not focused on any one vessel," says Shipley.

The former prime minister represents the government-funded group that has organised numerous events from October to December.

In an interview with Moana Maniapoto, she says the replica Endeavour is just one vessel among many that will visit a number of our harbours.

"I understand the anxiety of the Endeavour but remember what we are celebrating here- vaʻa or waka, waka hourua, the Endeavour, then our trading vessels.  This is our story collectively, it is not a reenactment," she says. 

Shipley says she, like everyone of her generation, was incorrectly taught that Captain Cook ‘discovered’ New Zealand.

"I was taught that Cook discovered New Zealand and that was wrong."

She says our education system needs to be updated to tell the true stories about our origins. 

"It's outrageous that we learn history of others and don't know our own history," says Shipley.  "It's uneven but I want my mokopuna to understand both sides.  I don't think we can forge a future together if we can't safely and respectfully listen and learn from each other."

This includes the good and the bad.  Shipley says she doesn’t agree the commemorations will be focused on the Pākehā experience but adds that many Māori stories have not been accessible and now is the time for all New Zealanders to hear the truth.

WATCH the full interview: