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New Zealand marks 250th anniversary of Cook's landing with Māori ceremony
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Video. Māori rite marks 250th anniversary of Cook's New Zealand landing

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called on Saturday (October 5) for New Zealand to have a more open conversation about its history, as commemorations began ahead of the anniversary of the landing of British explorer James Cook in the territory 250 years ago.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called on Saturday (October 5) for New Zealand to have a more open conversation about its history, as commemorations began ahead of the anniversary of the landing of British explorer James Cook in the territory 250 years ago.

Britain delivered a "statement of regret" to indigenous Māori this week for the killing of nine of their number immediately after Cook's landing, although it did not offer a formal apology.

Ardern was joined by dignitaries in Gisborne, in the country's east, where a flotilla comprising traditional Pacific double hulled 'waka' vessels received a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony.

She said New Zealand should continue to learn and tell the full story of the country's past.

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