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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




Abel Tasman was in the Cook Strait area from 18 until 26 December 1642. Although he showed the strait as a bight on his chart, he noted the tide was running from the south-east and therefore concluded that there might be a passage. He named it Zeehaens Bocht, after one of his ships. The true nature of the strait was discovered by Cook on 22 January 1770. While the Endeavour was undergoing repairs in Ship Cove, Cook, Banks, and Solander took the ship's pinnace to explore the head of what seemed to be a large inlet. After rowing 4 or 5 leagues without reaching their objective, the party landed on the south-east shore. Cook then climbed a hill and sighted the eastern sea, thus proving the strait's existence.

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