In 1642, the Dutchman Abel Tasman was the first European to discover New Zealand. Tasman had two ships:
- the Heemskerck
- the Zeehaen
The aims of Tasman's voyage were to:
- find resources such as minerals
- find land suitable for settlement.
Abel Tasman in New Zealand
On 13 December 1642 the Dutch saw "a large land, uplifted high". It was most likely the Southern Alps. In Golden Bay four of Tasman’s party were killed and one Māori was shot when one of Tasman’s small boats was rammed by a Māori waka. Tasman named the place Murderers' Bay.
Called "Staten Landt" by Tasman, the Dutch went on to name our country New Zealand.
Overall, Tasman was positive about New Zealand and opened the way here for Europeans.
Captain Cook and science
Starting in 1768, Captain James Cook led a South Pacific expedition that was the first of his three voyages to New Zealand. The main goals of his first voyage were:
- Science - to observe the Transit of Venus from Tahiti so accurate distances from the Earth to Venus, and Earth to the Sun could be calculated.
- To expand trade and empire.
Cook wrote about the resources of the lands he visited and if those lands were suitable for settlement.
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