It's been 250 years since Captain Cook first set foot in New Zealand and - for better or worse - began the modern history of our nation.
The Herald has prepared an interactive map that traces the 1769 route of his ship, the Endeavour, and outlines his encounters with Māori.
To follow Cook's voyage, click on the map below and see how the historic expedition unfolded. If you want to learn more about the background of Cook and his journey, read our brief Q&A.
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Did Captain Cook discover New Zealand?
Not really, that's a throwback to the British-centric, colonial version of our history. But Tuesday 8 October 2019 still marks the 250th anniversary of the day Lieutenant James Cook (to give him his correct rank at the time) and the HMS Endeavour arrived in New Zealand at Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay in 1769.
Follow Cook's voyage here
Generations of Kiwis were later taught that he discovered the country, conveniently ignoring the fact that Māori had been here since the early 1300s. It was not even the first European discovery of New Zealand - Abel Tasman had found the top of the South Island in 1642.
So why are we still talking about Cook today?
Debate has been raging about this since the Government announced it was spending $23 million on "Tuia 250", billed as a commemoration of both Cook and Polynesian navigators. Despite the controversy, Cook's place in our history remains secure. He was the first European navigator to produce an accurate map of New Zealand - so reliable that parts remained in use until the 1990s. His detailed reports and return voyages paved the way for British interest and later colonisation of New Zealand, which changed the lives of Māori and Pākehā alike. And his actions - good and bad - give us a fascinating insight into the meeting of "two worlds", as anthropologist and Cook expert Dame Anne Salmond has described the early encounters between British and Māori.
Was he a murderer?
For most of our history, Cook has been portrayed as a heroic explorer. More recently critics have called him a pirate and even a murderer. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.
Cook was a willing agent of British imperialist expansion. His scientific expedition to observe the transit of the planet Venus from Tahiti, while genuine, was also a ruse for secret orders to search for the fabled Terra Australis or great southern continent. Cook was expected to claim whatever he found in the Pacific for Great Britain as part of a scramble by European powers to conquer new territories across the globe. He played an important part in what became colonisation and the subjugation of Māori in their own country.
Case closed then?
Not exactly. Cook was also a little unconventional for his time, the working-class son of a farm labourer, with a Quaker upbringing as a teenager. He wanted to avoid repeating the devastating effects of colonisation by other European countries, such as the Spanish in America. And his orders from the Royal Society included instructions that native people should be treated with patience and forbearance and bloodshed must be avoided wherever possible. "They are the natural, and in the strictest sense of the word, the legal possessors of the several Regions they inhabit," the Royal Society president, the Earl of Morton, warned him. "No European Nation has a right to occupy any part of their country, or settle among them without their voluntary consent." Cook walked a tightrope trying to follow those instructions, particularly when it came to claiming land for Britain with the consent of native inhabitants.
How did he communicate with Māori?
Cook had a huge stroke of luck here. He formed an alliance with a Tahitian chief, Tupaia, who joined the Endeavour and guided Cook around the Pacific. When the ship reached New Zealand, the British found to their amazement that Tupaia could communicate with Māori tribes because of their common Polynesian language.
Tupaia became the ship's interpreter, often diffusing conflict and relaying requests between the two sides, but he was far more than just a go-between. Māori revered him for his knowledge and many saw him as the true leader of the expedition - an impression Tupaia probably encouraged. For many years the unsung hero behind Cook's success, Tupaia later died on the voyage. When Cook returned to New Zealand on his second voyage, Māori were deeply saddened to hear of his death.
Can we trust the official history?
It's hard to be sure what happened as most of the accounts come from the British, who had every reason to downplay their use of force and exaggerate the threat against them. However, there are several - notably the journals of Cook, the ship's botanist Joseph Banks and surgeon William Monkhouse, who did not always see eye to eye. Cook was the most likely to try to understand Māori tikanga (customs), which often put him at odds with his own crew.
Sources: The Trial of the Cannibal Dog: Captain Cook in the South Seas - Anne Salmond, Penguin, 2003. James Cook: The Voyages - William Frame with Laura Walker, McGill-Queens University Press, 2018 Uncharted with Sam Neill, TV documentary series, 2018.
Research: Andrew Laxon
Artwork: Richard Dale, Phil Welch