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Maori protests in New Zealand as UK stops short of apology for massacre

New Zealand’s Maori groups are expected to hold protests this week, as the UK stopped short of apologising for the killing of local tribesman by British Captain James Cook in 1769.

Commemorations are being planned this week to mark Cook’s arrival in the country, and though the British government is set to express regret over the killings, it is reported that it will not apologise to the Maori people.

British high commissioner to New Zealand, Laura Clarke is expected to “acknowledge the pain of those first encounters” between Cook the and Māori, the British high commission said in a statement, as well as acknowledge the pain “does not diminish over time”.

However, as celebrations look set to take place this week - which include the unveiling of a replica of Cook’s ship - Maori groups have slammed them as insensitive.

When Cook landed on the east side of the Tūranganui River, his men immediately shot and killed a leader from the Ngāti Oneone group. At least 8 other Maori were killed that day.

Tina Ngata, a Māori rights advocate told radio NZ that Cook was “a murderer, he was an invader [and] he was a vanguard for British imperial expansion”.

See more from The Guardian here.