By Angus Hoy
Tuesday 22 Oct 2013 22:09:00
Browse all History articles

The macabre story of a massacre that took place 240 years ago is the subject of a fascinating talk this week at Middlesbrough’s Captain Cook Birthplace Museum.

Cook, the Maori and the Grass Cove Massacre 1773 is part of the 2013 Discover Middlesbrough Festival and takes place in the build-up to the annual Captain Cook Society Conference on Saturday (October 26).

Senior Curator Phil Philo’s illustrated talk will outline the grisly event that took place during Cook’s second Pacific voyage (1772-75) and soured relations with his crew on this third Pacific voyage (1776-80), leading to his men staging the trial of a Maori dog.

The talk will also shed light on the fearsome reputation of the Maori warrior, his preferred weapons for combat - many examples of which can be seen on display at the Birthplace Museum - and how he became wise to the firearms tactics of the European visitors.

Phil Philo said: “It is very easy to lose sight of the fact that Cook and his crew were never very far away from conflict, injury and death.

“This terrible event was fortunately rare in the experiences of Cook and his crew visiting these remote and largely unknown people and cultures.

“But it served as a warning of what could happen in the future when difficulties in communication and understanding led to violence and conflict - Cook’s untimely death in Hawaii a few years later was another chilling example.”

Cook, the Maori and the Grass Cove Massacre 1773 takes from 2pm to 3pm on Friday, October 25 in the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Stewart Park. Admission is free and all are welcome.


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