Gisborne district councillors at the centre of a row over an alleged racist remark say they have been targeted with threats and racism from the public.
Gisborne District Council this morning held an extraordinary meeting, where it was officially revealed councillor Malcolm MacLean was brought before the code of conduct board for making an offensive comment.
The process was initiated after councillor Meredith-Akuhata Brown claimed she overheard a colleague say not enough Māori were killed by members of the Endeavour crew in 1769.
The names of the councillors involved and the minutes from a code of conduct review last Thursday into the incident were kept public-excluded, under threat of defamation.
An extraordinary meeting of the council yesterday decided to vote today on releasing the minutes and the names, however during the live-stream of the meeting councillor Bill Burdett inadvertently named Malcolm MacLean.
The council voted this morning to release the minutes regardless.
MacLean told this morning's meeting he never said not enough Māori were killed.
"What I did say was, 'lucky no more were killed with what confronted them'.
"It was a comment made during a lunch break in a private, mumbled conversation. Councillor Akuhata-Brown thinks she heard what I said, I know what I said."
MacLean said the process had taken a toll on his him and his family.
"My wife, animals, my wife's business, have all been threatened. It is terrible."
Akuhata-Brown was trying to discredit him and the work he did for the community, he said.
"I can definitely stand here and say I am not racist. All my life I have dealt with lots Māori. I would not be able to have held the positions I have in this community if I were racist."
The released minutes did not confirm if the remark was made, but said all councillors would receive training on the code of conduct, and tikanga.
Akuhata-Brown said she would stand by her statement on what she heard "until the day I die".
"Racism has had a profound impact on Māori especially, and particularly in this region.
"As we go into the [250th] commemoration of James Cook's landing, there are still those in our community who have such strong views on Māori. This was an opportunity to highlight that there are those views.
"I received threats too. All Māori should have been killed, was one of them. It is really heartbreaking people think that."
It was a "courageous conversation" they were having, and she urged the public not to be extremists, nor threaten anyone.
Deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz said the council did not tolerate racism in any shape or form.
"We've drawn a line in the sand about what is and is not acceptable although we still have a long way to go in terms of tolerance, respect and understanding.
"As result of the findings, the mayor and I will organise cultural awareness and tikanga training for this council. Tikanga training will also be standard in our induction processes for future councillors.
"There's still more work to do to modify behaviours. We now need to come together and work hard to restore the public's trust."