Story: European discovery of New Zealand

Chronometer, c. 1820

Chronometer, c. 1820

Accurate timekeeping, used to calculate longitude, was essential for precise navigation and map making. James Cook could not have found his way so easily around the Pacific, or made such accurate charts, without the improvements in ships’ chronometers made in the 18th century. Although this chronometer was made 50 years after Cook’s voyages, it is a good example of the type of instrument he would have used.

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Museum of Wellington City and Sea
Photograph by Melanie Lovell-Smith

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How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'European discovery of New Zealand - James Cook', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 November 2022)

Story by John Wilson, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 May 2016