Story: Early mapping

First chart of Foveaux Strait

This is a copy of a chart originally produced by Owen Folger Smith, an American sealer. He was the first European to find and discover Foveaux Strait, at the south of the South Island, in 1804–5. Smith travelled in a whaleboat up the east coast of Stewart Island to Raupuke Island, where he saw the strait to the west. He continued into the narrowest part of the strait, where he noted the ebb tide flowed at 5 knots. It is believed that his chart of ‘Smith’s Strait’ was presented to the governor of New South Wales in 1806, but because regulations forbade whaling to the south of latitude 43° 39’, it was kept secret. It was released in 1809 by Governor Joseph Foveaux, after whom the strait was renamed.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: MapColl 835aj/1806/Acc.92

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Melanie Lovell-Smith, 'Early mapping - Traders, whalers, missionaries: 1800–1840', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 May 2022)

Story by Melanie Lovell-Smith, published 24 Sep 2007