Thursday, 21 March 2013

Captain Cook journal comes back to NZ

When the the Ocean liner Queen Mary 2 docked at Auckland Harbour on Monday 11 March, on board was a VIP in the form of Captain Cook's draft journal. Letters by Cook detailing the first voyage and his personal tea caddy and spoon were also on board the ship.

The brief return of this journal marks the first time it has been in the country since it was written by Cook. Complete with scribblings and crossing outs, the handwritten account describes Cook's first circumnavigation of New Zealand during 1969-1770 and the infamous encounter with Māori at Poverty Bay.

Captain James Cook was the first European to explore and map the coastline of New Zealand extensively. On each of his three voyages to the Pacific he was accompanied by artists and scientists. Accounts of each voyage were published both by Cook and others on the expeditions.

Ref: 4-1347, Captain Cook, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The scientist Joseph Banks accompanied Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand. Banks was elected President of the Royal Society in 1788 and corresponded widely with scientists, politicians and explorers. Johann Forster and his son Georg travelled on the second voyage. They made detailed observations of the natural world around them.

Selected manuscripts relating to Cook are held in Sir George Grey Special Collections:
  • Cook, James. Correspondence 1765. From the Victualling & Navy offices to Lieut. Cook. Three letters regarding the victualling of the schooner Grenville. One letter transcribed in the hand of James Cook. (GMSS 47)
  • Cook, James. Letter to the Commissioners of the Victualling concerning the purchase of provisions for the Endeavour, 30 November 1768 (GMSS 184)
  • Banks, Joseph, Sir. Journal kept during the first voyage of Captain Cook in H M S Endeavour from Poverty Bay to Batavia, 9th October, 1769, to 10th October 1770 (GMSS 51)
  • Banks, Joseph, Sir. Journal kept during the first voyage of Captain Cook in H M S Endeavour from Poverty Bay to Batavia, 26 December, 1770 to 9 July 1771 (GMSS 52)
  • Banks, Joseph, Sir. Journal describing the Society Islands. 1769 (GMSS 49)
  • Banks, Joseph, Sir. Otahite. 1769 (GMSS 50).
Ref: AWNS-19050831-9-3, cartoon showing Captain Cook's first arrival in NZ, Sir George Grey Special Collections
 To find out more, you can search for these resources and others on Manuscripts Online (enter the search term Captain Cook or Joseph Banks into the search box) and refer to the Collections feature on Captain Cook on the Auckland Libraries website.

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