Emotions are running high in Gisborne this morning, as a replica of the Endeavour closes in on the east coast.

The ship is part of a flotilla that will be met by four waka hourua for the Tuia 250 commemorations marking two and a half centuries since Captain Cook landed on our shores.

There's plenty of opposition to the replica's arrival and some local Māori are planning to boycott the commemorations.

Māori representatives in Gisborne as the Tuia 250 commemorations get underway. Photo / Will Trafford
Māori representatives in Gisborne as the Tuia 250 commemorations get underway. Photo / Will Trafford

Te Ha Trust general manager Glenis Philip-Barbara said they've worked really hard to make sure every corner of the community has a space to be heard.

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"We've protected our right to protest as New Zealanders for many years, so we are going to just make sure we work really hard to make sure that everybody is respectful of each other as we explore these stories."

"We've set up a really awesome family zone. They'll be bouncy castles, vertical bunjies, people on stilts --all kinds of really cool things."

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But locals spoken to by Herald Focus have mixed reactions about the event.

"He killed some of our ancestors. Why it is even coming here? Publicising this man, when this place was already discovered - it's hard," said one woman.

"It's part of our history. Why not? It's going to be taught in schools," another local said.

Former Treaty Negotiations Minister Sir Michael Cullen said the Endeavour's arrival is an important day in our history.

However, he said there is the darker side to it, with a number of Māori killed during the first encounter with Cook's crew.

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He said they'll be travelling together around to sites of significance so they can share in the korero and understand the stories of the community.