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Watch: Poem describes desire to ‘f*** up’ Captain Cook with a pig hunting knife

The British explorer has been dead for 244 years.

‘The Savage Coloniser’ a compilation by Christchurch poet Tusiata Avia is being adapted for the stage for the Auckland Arts Festival.

Government subsidized news outlet Stuff.co.nz recently featured an article on Avia which included a full text reproduction of a poem written to mark the 250th Anniversary of Captain James Cook’s arrival in New Zealand.

The poem describes a group of ‘us’ who drive around in SUVs ‘looking for white men like you [ie. like Cook], who might be thieves, rapists, kidnappers or murderers.’ Eventually a group of ‘brown girls’ find Cook on the corner of the Justice Precinct where he has a woman in a headlock. Armed with her father’s pig hunting knife she and others would be coming ‘to f***’ Cook up.

Stuff.co.nz did not allow comments on the story, however feedback on social media was brutal as a video copy of Avia reading the poem circulated widely.

It’s best not to give people like this any attention or airplay. Our focus should be investing our energy and time on unifying our people.

If it wasn’t being promoted by a mainstream media outlet I would have. But this is a new low from @NZStuff.

Who even is this “poet”?

I’m tauiwi and am not offended. Where do you think these words and imagery she has created originate from? The uncomfortable truth about racism and colonisation for so many.

I couldn’t agree with you more mate what an absolutely disgusting racist poem???. She is definitely not one of the greats. Surely that must be classed as hate speech.

Truth hurts…Using swear words is her choice as it belongs to the English language so what’s the big deal? This is her viewpoint from the eyes of a Polynesian. Was it not that Cookie was/is portrayed as a great explorer within our school system & discovered these islands?

As offensive as this “poem” is, I don’t believe it should be cancelled. But I demand that her right to free speech goes both ways…

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10 COMMENTS

  1. It is a well-known fact that Te Rauparaha was a murderer, rapist and cannibal yet there is still a monument to the lowlife in Otaki and a sports stadium named after him in Porirua. It’s ok when ‘they’ do it though. It’s blatant racism and I have made a complaint to the HRC, I suggest everyone who knows about this poem should do the same.

  2. We grew up knowing this fact. It was often talked about. I did say he was notorious but yes he was all those things and the stories went around at the dinner table. Probably a bit crass. My father also kept caged hens for eggs and poultry. I would watch hiim cut off their heads and yes they kept running around. The light would go on automatically in the am and also in the pm in the hen house so it was a battery. I don’t think they would’ve survived had they been free range outside. Too cold. It were different times then.

    We also grew up knowing that Captain Cook meet his fate upon making his third voyage to Hawaii.
    I guess he just wanted to have his boat back. It were different times back then.

  3. This “poem” sounds like something a grubby, and barely literate teenager would write in an attempt to shock others. If this is the acceptable standard now, will we start seeing poems about the need for genocide against minority groups, like the one she belongs too? I suspect not, because racism is OK if you are a member of a minority group.

  4. Unacceptable for stuff to publish/promote this hate speech and portray it as art. This gathering of words angles towards division. Many of us from all backgrounds have a chip on our shoulder after being unfairly treated, that is not a ticket to create division in any community or Nation.

    • I agree. This woman was very likely beaten, ridiculed, raped, dumped, and also very likely by one of her ‘fellas’.
      On top of all that, never educated, A tragic figure.

  5. At the age of 74yrs I feel that we are in a holding pattern, and it will not take much for someone to react in the negative and then we will all be outraged. I have seen after living overseas in the 60s, when all it needs is for the screw to be wound so tight it will explode. Can we all take a deep breath and look at what is important and treat with respect and honour regardless of the colour of our skin. After all, once you have added this aspect it becomes RACISIT.

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