Officials in Christchurch are weighing up security options as a statue of Captain James Cook continues to be targeted by vandals.

The latest attack has caused $25,000 in damage – one of four known attacks on the statue.

Some incidents involved the statue being spattered with paint, others the statue having its nose cut off and eyes gouged out.

The vandalism often coincided with the anniversary of Cook’s death on February 14, 1779, when he was stabbed as he attempted to kidnap a Hawaiian chief.

Central Ward community board member John Miller described the latest attack as “macabre” and “creepy”.

“That is the sort of thing where it becomes counterproductive and its disturbing to people.”

‘People feel disenfranshised’

AUT indigenous issues commentator Ella Henry said that Cook was a “contentious” figure and that, as a nation, “we need to have that conversation about our true history”.

“There are a number of people feeling very disenfranchised, particularly in the Māori community as a result of some political manoeuvres of the last short while, and they may feel this is the only way they can voice their discontent.”

Police said they were investigating the two latest reports of damage and were looking through CCTV footage from the area.

Miller said he didn’t believe removing the statue was the answer.

“Added security is the interim answer to public property like this — valuable art pieces that we can fairly safely predict are going to be set upon.”

The attacks were part of a growing trend, with other cities seeing similar episodes with statues of colonial figures.

On Australia Day last month, Melbourne’s Queen Victoria monument was badly damaged, and a Captain Cook statue was severed at teh feet from a plinth.

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