Gisborne councilors reveal public threats to racism

Governors of Gisborne in the middle of a row about an alleged racist remark say they are focused on threats and racism of the public.

Gisborne District Council held an extraordinary meeting this morning, officially unveiling that councilor Malcolm MacLean was brought before the Code of Conduct to make an offensive remark.

The trial was initiated after councilor Meredith-Akuhata Brown claimed that she heard a colleague say that not enough Māori were killed by members of the Endeavor team in 1769.

The names of the councilors involved and the minutes of a code of conduct that was included in the incident last Thursday were publicly excluded, under threat of defamation.

An extraordinary meeting of the council decided yesterday to vote on the release of the minutes and the names, but during the live stream of the board member Bill Burdett accidentally called Malcolm MacLean.

SOURCE / Gisborne District Council

The council voted this morning to release the minutes, regardless.

MacLean said this morning that he never said that not enough Māori were killed.

"What I did say was: & # 39; no more happy were killed with what confronted them & # 39 ;.

"It was a comment made during a lunch break in a private, muttered conversation, alderman Akuhata-Brown thinks she heard what I said, I know what I said."

MacLean said the process takes its toll on his and his family.

"My wife, animals, my wife's business are all threatened, it's terrible."

Akuhata-Brown tried to discredit him and the work he did for the community, he said.

"I can absolutely stay here and say that I am not racist." All my life I have had a lot of Māori, I would not be able to keep the positions I had in this community if I were racist. "

The released minutes did not confirm whether the comment was made, but said that all council members would receive training on the code of conduct and tikanga.

Akuhata-Brown said she would keep her statement about what she heard "until the day I die".

"Racism has had a particularly profound impact on Māori, especially in this region.

"If we go to the [250th] commemoration of the landing of James Cook, there are still people in our community who have such strong ideas about Māori. This was an opportunity to emphasize that there are those opinions.

"I also got threats, all Māori should have been killed, was one of them." It is really heartbreaking that people think. "

It was a bold conversation & # 39; that they had and they urged the public not to be extremists, nor to threaten anyone.

Deputy Mayor Rehette Stoltz said the council did not tolerate racism in any form.

"We have made a mark about what is and is not acceptable, although we still have a long way to go in terms of tolerance, respect and understanding.

"As a result of the findings, the mayor and I will organize cultural awareness and tikanga training for this council, and Tikanga training will also be standard in our introduction processes for future council members.

"There is more work to do to change behavior, we need to come together and work hard to restore public confidence."

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