New Zealand has removed a statue of a British colonial military commander after whom it was named, on Friday, amid protests against oppression in the country.
The removal of the statue of Captain John Hamilton comes as part of a global response triggered by the death of African-American George Floyd in the US, and which has led marches against racism and the removal of monuments around the world, reports Efe news.
A crane hoisted the bronze sculpture of Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton from the town square Friday morning after requests from local Maori and threats from anti-racism protesters to topple it.
AFP reports, Hamilton City Council acknowledged the statue’s extraction was part of a push to remove memorials “which are seen to represent cultural disharmony and oppression” sparked by global anti-racism protests.
“I know many people, in fact, a growing number of people, find the statue personally and culturally offensive,” mayor Paula Southgate said.
“We can’t ignore what is happening all over the world and nor should we. At a time when we are trying to build tolerance and understanding… I don’t think the statue helps us to bridge those gaps.”
Hamilton was killed in the Battle of Gate Pa in 1864, part of the New Zealand wars a series of battles between Maori and the British over disputed land purchases and colonization.
The bronze statue in the North Island city of Hamilton, which was named after him, was erected in 2013 after it was gifted by a local company.
It comes after a Maori ”kaumatua” (elder) threatened to tear it down during a planned anti-racism protest over the weekend, and the city council said it had decided to remove it from Civic Square after a formal request from local ”iwi” (tribe) Waikato-Tainui.