Britain expresses ‘regret’ for killing Maori 250 years ago

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The British government is expressing “regret” that British explorers killed some of the first indigenous Maori they met 250 years ago, but has stopped short of issuing a full apology.

British High Commissioner Laura Clarke is scheduled to meet Wednesday with Maori tribal leaders in the town of Gisborne as they mark the anniversary of Captain James Cook and the crew of his ship Endeavour arriving in 1769.

Soon after arriving, the sailors feared they were under attack. They shot and killed an important leader, Te Maro, and later killed eight more Maori.

The British High Commission said the exact wording of Clarke’s speech to Maori leaders would remain private, but she would acknowledge the pain of those first encounters and extend her sympathy to the descendants of those killed.

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