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This Day in History

New Zealand History

Wednesday, November 15, 1769. :   James Cook takes formal possession of New Zealand

     In 1769, Lieutenant James Cook was appointed to chart the transit of Venus. After completing his scientific mission of observing the transit of Venus from the islands of Tahiti, James Cook then was under secret orders to search for Terra Australis Incognita, the great continent which some believed to extend round the pole. Shortly after observing the transit of Venus, Cook came across New Zealand, which had already been discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642. Early in October 1769, a 12-year-old cabin boy named Nicholas Young first sighted New Zealand, and two days later the 'Endeavour' anchored in Poverty Bay, which Cook originally named as Endeavour Bay. Cook and two botanists, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, went ashore at the future site of Gisborne on 9 October.

Cook went on to spend some months in New Zealand, charting the coastline. On 15 November 1769, James Cook took formal possession of New Zealand, raising the British flag at Mercury Bay, on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula.

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