Where No Man Has Gone Before

Where No Man Has Gone Before

Commemorating a New Zealand icon, Captain James Cook

Secret orders instructed Cook to search out ‘the Great Unknown Southern Continent’ and explore New Zealand, where he was to survey the coastline, take samples of flora and minerals, and note the soils, beasts, birds and fishes. Friendship with local inhabitants was to be cultivated and trade done fairly. There was to be no ‘wanton use of firearms’ or shedding of blood, even when threatened.

We cannot ignore the fact contact between the Europeans and the Pacific people was not always positive or without violence. Yet, can we lay all the blame at the feet of one man? Cook was working to a set of instructions, he was not alone, and did not always have control of his men’s behaviour, despite his best efforts.