New Zealand History/European Explorers

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First European Explorers to Discover New Zealand Edit

First map of New Zealand, drawn by James Cook.

Abel Tasman Edit

Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, was one of the first Europeans to discover New Zealand on the 13th of December 1642, in his search for the Great Southern Continent. Tasman noted in his journal that it was a large land, uplifted high (the area he sighted was near the Southern Alps). He called New Zealand 'Staten Landt' which refers to the 'Land of the (Dutch) States-General'.

The first encounter Tasman had with the Maori was on the 18th of December in Taitapu Bay (now Golden Bay), when two canoes from the shore approached Tasman's ship. Communication was not possible, as the Dutch and the Maori couldn't understand each other's languages.

Later, more canoes approached the ship, so the Dutch sent out a boat to tempt the Maori to come on board. One of the canoes rammed the small Dutch boat, killing some sailors. The Dutch, in turn, fired at the Maori when more canoes approached, causing the Maori to retreat to shore rapidly.

After this, Tasman travelled to the tip of the North Island before leaving New Zealand waters.

James Cook Edit

British explorer, James Cook, captain of the Endeavour entered New Zealand waters on the 6th of October 1769, and laid anchor at today's Poverty Bay. When Cook saw smoke, he realised the land was inhabited, he and a group of sailors headed to shore, in the hope of befriending the natives and taking on board refreshments. The Maori were hostile, however, and the British had to fire on the Maori in self-defence.

Cook attempted trade with Maori again at a different location, but with no success. He managed to sketch 2400 miles of coastline on the journey and proved New Zealand was not part of a major continent. He returned to New Zealand another two times in the 18th Century.

Jean-Francois-Marie de Surville Edit

Jean Francois Marie De Surville, was a captain of the French East India Company ship, Saint Jean Baptiste. He entered New Zealand Waters on the 12th of December 1769, 11:15am, off the Coast of Hokianga. On 16th of December, the French Ship rounded North Cape. Captain James Cook and Captain Jean propably passed within 20 to 25Km from each other. One Day later, on the 17th, Jean discovered what he called 'Lauriston Bay', Unbeknown to him, Captain James Cook had already named it 'Doubtless Bay'. From the 18th to the 31st of December, Jean anchored off North of Doubtless Bay. At that point, Maori Waka rowed out to him, and begun the first acts of Trade in New Zealand.

However, peacefully relations between the Maori and the French didn't last. Two days later, Jean perceived that the Maori were stealing a Boat which had drifted ashore. In retaliation, Jean Burned down various Huts, food stores, nets and Canoes. Soon after, he took prisoner of the Ngati Kahu leader, Ranginui. Unfortunately, Ranginui died out at sea, on the 24th of March 1770.

Jean Francois Marie De Surville Confirmed the Non-existence of Davis Land otherwise known as Terra Australias. This mythical Southern continent was hypothesised to 'Balance' the earth.

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