Story: Coins and banknotes

Captain Cook medal

Captain Cook medal

The British explorer and mariner Captain James Cook presented Māori chiefs with specially struck medals in 1773, during his second Pacific voyage. They commemorate the voyage and were also used to assert rights of 'discovery'. The medals were distributed in the South Island. The known surviving ones were later found some distance from where they were handed out, which has led scholars to believe they were traded by Māori as a form of currency.

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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: NU006827

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Coins and banknotes - Commemorative currency and collecting', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 September 2021)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 20 Jun 2012