Using the 'Crook Cook' curiosity card

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The surprising responses from senior primary students to the ‘Crook Cook’ curiosity card image, and how an inquiry around this card might take shape.



Video title: Using the 'Crook Cook' curiosity card. Subtitle: With senior primary students

Esther is sitting in the Sylvia Park School Library.

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Esther Casey
Sylvia Park School
Mt Wellington, Auckland

Esther holds up the 'Crook Cook' curiosity card.


Our senior primary students love a bit of controversy, they love debating and they can relate to issues where something is really unfair.

And I imagine, although I've kind of been proven wrong ... I imagined that they would look at this and say ... and find ... and be really ... really outraged that someone could be as ... so disrespectful to an artist.

What they really looked at was, they thought it was part of the artwork. So, it was interesting how students looked at the image and saw something different than I might have ... thought that they would, thought they would come up with.

But getting them to talk about: 'What is art?' and ...


Photo: 'Crook Cook' statue, with red paint on Cook's face and the top of his trousers.

Back to Esther Casey in the library holding the 'Crook Cook' curiosity card, which she puts down later in the discussion.


'How do we represent people in our past?' ... is a really good start to an inquiry and especially if they think there is a story behind it which is ... which is unfair, something which has happened in the past.

And then of course, with this image, when you start to unpack the story behind it, you know that there are so many layers of fairness and unfairness ... and they will really relate to that. They'll pick that up and they will be really, really outraged, which is great, which is what we want.

We want a passionate connection between the past and the present so that they can really come to, come to an idea about how they can be part of setting things right or they can be part of telling a story in a different way. So, getting students to think about history and to think about how we interpret history is something that this image will really get kids going on.

So our outcome for an inquiry like that could well be a design for an appropriate commemoration for something that happened local to our ... our place, and to our school ... and looking at different perspectives on history and the way that people can interpret a memorial or a piece of art.


Parts of the Captain Cook statue on Gisborne’s Tītīrangi Hill were painted red in 2016. Erected in 1969, the statue is known by locals as the ‘Crook Cook’ statue because it bears little resemblance to Captain Cook. In October 2018, the Gisborne District Council decided to remove the statue.

Video and photo credits:

Curiosity card CC0003

Gisborne Captain Cook statue vandalised with red paint, 2016 by Liam Clayton. The Gisborne Herald. All rights reserved.

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