Two Gisborne district councillors are facing a code of conduct review after one alleged the other said "not enough" local Māori were killed by crew of the Endeavour.

Councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown said during a lunchtime discussion a couple of her colleagues said "not enough were killed", referring to when local Māori were killed by crew of the Endeavour in October 1769.

Akuhata-Brown made the accusation in a Gisborne Herald column this week, reflecting on a trip to Los Angeles with a group of students who had been learning about racism and tolerance.

"I returned home to a meeting with some Gisborne residents who feel at risk from our prisoner reintegration system, and a Gisborne District Council meeting where conversation over lunch included references to the killing of local Māori when Cook arrived, and according to a couple of my colleagues, 'not enough were killed'," she wrote.

Advertisement

"We still have a way to go when it comes to tolerance and understanding and yet some would say we have had better education, so why do such strong attitudes exist?"

The alleged comments referred to the first meeting between the crew of the Endeavour and Māori at Tūranganui-a-Kiwa/Gisborne in October 1769, when nine Māori were shot and killed, and three young boys kidnapped.

Pressure has been mounting in the Gisborne community for the alleged councillor to come forward, as Akuhata-Brown did not name them in her column.

Deputy mayor and chair of the code of conduct committee Rehette Stoltz said both councillors were facing a code of conduct review.

"As signatories to our code of conduct we expect our elected members to act with the utmost integrity and respect in any forum in which they participate," Stoltz said.

"We will be working through a process to determine whether the principles of our code of conduct have been breached.

"I am disappointed with what has happened here and any breach will be dealt with swiftly and accordingly."

Akuhata-Brown declined to comment, citing the code of conduct review.

Advertisement