Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
Chapter III — Cook's Historic Landfall at Poverty Bay
Cook's Historic Landfall at Poverty Bay
Follows Search for Mythical Continent—Visit to Tahiti a “Blind” — Text of “Additional Secret Orders”—Significant Change in Course—Visit Resented by the Natives.
As the Endeavour slowly approached the east coast of the North Island early in October, 1769, she ran into fine, warm weather, which must have proved a very pleasant change from the cold, boisterous conditions experienced during the previous few weeks whilst search was being made for the mythical “Great South Land.”
Unlike some of the other voyagers, Banks does not stress all the shortages that now had to be endured. Only a fortnight before the high country at the back of Poverty Bay came into view, he recorded in his journal that the beef and pork were still excellent; that the pease, flour and oatmeal were, in general, very good; that the portable soup was in a like condition (it having been aired now and again); that the sourkrout was as good as ever; and that the malt liquors had answered extremely well, both small beer and porter being on tap and “as good as ever I drank, especially the latter.”
Banks, however, had a sad tale to tell concerning the bread [biscuit], which had got into a verminous condition:
“I have,” he says, “seen hundreds, nay thousands [of weevils] shaken out of a single biscuit. Sometimes, I have had 20 at a time in my mouth. We in the cabin have an easy remedy for this by baking it in an oven not too hot, which makes them walk off. But this remedy cannot be allowed to the ship's people, who must find the taste of these animals very disagreeable, as they every one taste as strong as mustard, or, rather, spirits of hartshorn. They are of five kinds….”
Parkinson strikes a very cheerful note less than a week before land was sighted:
“Though we have been so long out at sea in a distant part of the world,” he wrote, “we had a roasted leg of mutton and French beans for dinner, and the fare of Old England afforded us a grateful repast.”
Poverty Bay Canoe Anchor in Dominion Museum.
J. T. Salmon, Photo.
British Official Chart, 1803–56 (1817 Issue). East Cape shown as a Portuguese discovery in 1550.
By courtesy of British Admiralty.
Dr. Samuel Johnson was greatly interested in the story of the goat's travels and, on 27 February, 1772, he wrote to Banks (Boswell's Johnson, by Napier, Vol. 1, p. 533) enclosing a verse in Latin, a translation of which runs:
“In fame scarce second to the nurse of Jove,
This goat, which twice the world had travelled round,
Deserving both her master's care and love,
Ease and perpetual pasture now has found.”
With Tasman's chart before him, Cook knew that, very soon, he would fall in with the eastern coast of New Zealand. Banks and some others were hopeful that the land ahead would prove to be the supposed “Southern Continent.” Cook does not seem to have entertained the idea that New Zealand was other than an island, or group of islands. The sighting of seaweed, pieces of wood, seals, porpoises and land birds—“sure signs that land is close at hand”—enforced increased vigilance, lest the ship should meet with disaster upon an inhospitable shore. “The captain,” Parkinson says, “apprehended that we were near land, and promised one gallon of rum to the man who should first discover it by day and two gallons if he should discover it by night; also that part of the coast of the said land should be named after him.”
It was at 2 p.m. on 7 October, 1769, that a lad at the masthead earned lasting fame for himself on account of being the first member of the complement to feast his eyes upon the shadowy outline of the eastern coast of New Zealand. The scene aboard when the welcome cry “Land Ahoy!” rang out is described very interestingly by Banks:
“At half-past one [the logbook gives the hour as 2 p.m.] a small boy who was at the masthead call'd out Land. I was luckily upon deck and well I was entertained. Within a few minutes, the cry circulated and up came all hands. The land could not then be seen from the Tops; yet few were there who did not plainly see it from the Deck, till it appear'd that they had looked 5 points wrong. Weather page 18 most moderate. We came up with it [the land] very slowly. At sunset, myself was at the masthead. Land appear'd much like an island, or islands, but seemed to be large.”
Little is known concerning the sharp-eyed lad who first descried the land, but whose memory is kept green by the name “Young Nick's Head,” which, in his honour, Cook bestowed upon the southern headland of Poverty Bay. As Hugh Carrington (Life of Captain Cook) says: “Young Nick is one of the mysteries of the voyage.” Cook does not hand down the lad's name. Molineux (the master) and Parkinson describe him as “Nicholas Young and James Roberts (one of Banks's servants) refers to him as “Nicholas Yong.” The name “Nicholas Young” does not appear on the ship's original muster roll.
There has been much speculation even as to Young Nick's occupation on board. In Murihiku (1907), p. 6, McNab says that he was one of Banks's suite; in Tasman to Marsden, that he was “the boy to the surgeon's mate.” Kitson (Life of Captain James Cook) claims that his name was omitted from the early muster sheets while he was the servant of Mr. Perry, the surgeon's mate, but that it appeared on 18 April, 1769, when he was entered as an “A.B.” in place of Peter Flowers (dronwed). To Banks, he was only “a small boy.” The fact that the lad was taking a turn as lookout lends colour to Kitson's assertion. Surgeon Rear-Admiral John R. Muir (Captain Cook: London, 1939, p. 111) supports Kitson, and adds that, apart from the fact that Young Nick would have accompanied Banks on the second voyage if Banks had not withdrawn, “that is all that can be traced of the career of the youth.” In The Remarkable Story of Andrew Swan, p. 143, it is stated that Young Nick hailed from Greenock, on the Clyde.
When the coast of New Zealand first came into view it bore west by north and Poverty Bay had been passed. During the twenty-four hours up till noon on 6 October, sixty-two miles had been sailed along a S.W. by S. course. If no alteration had been made, that course would have given a landfall between Cape Kidnippers and Cape Turnagain. However, just before noon on the 6th the course was altered, and, by noon on the 7th, forty-one miles had been traversed on a N. 70 deg. W. course, and Poverty Bay lay directly ahead.
According To Admiralty chart No. 1212, prepared by Captain Hurd, R.N (Hydrographer to the Admiralty) and dated 30 April, 1816, the Endeavour was opposite Mahia, and about seventy miles out to sea, when the course was changed on 6 October from S.W. by S. to N. 70 deg. W. Her position would then be slightly farther from Young Nick's Head than from page 19 Mahia. At noon on the 7th—two hours before land was sighted—she would be about thirty miles off Poverty Bay.
A Strange Misconception
To all who are familiar with the coast in the vicinity of Poverty Bay—backed as it is by high ranges—it must seem strange that Young Nick's Head is given by two of the voyagers as the point of land that was first seen. This misconception can be accounted for only by the fact that, some time after the high land had been sighted, this headland was found to lie directly ahead, and that it was named after Nicholas Young.
Parkinson was under the impression that Young Nick's Head was the part of the land that was first sighted. He says:
“About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, one of our people, Nicholas Young, the surgeon's boy, descried a point of land of New Zealand from the starboard bow at about nine leagues distance bearing west by north. We bore up to it and, at sunset, we had a good view of it. The land was high and appeared like an island. We regaled ourselves in the evening on the occasion. The land was called ‘Young Nick's Head,’ and the boy received his reward.”
Cook did not mention the headland by name until after he had left Poverty Bay on the 12th (corrected date). “At noon,” he says, in his entry for that date, “the S.W. point of Poverty Bay which I have named Young Nick's Head (after the boy who first saw this land) bore….” Nowhere in his journal does Cook state that it was the first point of land to come into view. The opening to Poverty Bay was not seen until twenty-seven hours after land was first sighted.
Another voyager who believed that Young Nick's Head received its name because it was the first land sighted was James Roberts, of Banks's suite. His journal entry regarding the first attempt that was made—on 9 October—to sail into Poverty Bay states: “At 11 tack'd ship within 2 miles of a bluff head caul'd Yong Nicks Head from its being the first land seen by Nicholas Yong a boy.” Roberts's entry seems to have been belatedly made.
Whilst Professor E. E. Morris, Litt.D. of Melbourne (who was a noted authority on Captain Cook) was on a visit to Poverty Bay in 1901 (Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, Vol. 33, pp. 499–514), he agreed with W. L. Williams that the first land sighted must have been the high ranges in the interior. Cook, in his reference to the naming of Young Nick's Head had, he added, merely said that he had called it “after the boy who first saw this land,” meaning, presumably, New Zealand.page 20
There is no mention in any account of the voyage of the sighting of cliffs on 7 October (the day on which land first came into view from the masthead). The Canberra logbook says that the land appeared west by north “in the form of low hummocks,” and that it was then eight or nine leagues away. Becket (Anon. 1771) uses a similar term. At sunset, Banks, after having been aloft, described it as “like an island or islands, but seemed large.” The first reference to cliffs is made in the noon entery in the Canberra logbook on 8 October: that, at a distance of from thirteen to fourteen miles, “several smokes and white cliffs” could be seen. The southernmost land [Mahia Peninsula] then appeared “like an island.”
Early on the evening of 8 October, Banks supplies a realistic word-picture:
“In the evening a pleasant Breeze. At Sunset, all hands at the Mast head. Land still Distant 7 or 8 leagues; appears larger than ever. In many parts, 3, 4, and 5 ranges of hills are seen one over the other, and a chain of mountains over all, some of which appear enormously high. Much difference of opinion and many conjectures about Islands, Rivers, Inlets, etc., but all hands seem to agree that this is certainly the continent we are in search of.”
First Glimpse of Poverty Bay
The opening to Poverty Bay is mentioned for the first time in the 5 p.m. entries for 8 October in Cook's Journal and in the Canberra logbook. Land was now only from two to three leagues distant. As seen by Parkinson, it was of considerable extent, with many small islands around it, and rising hills like those on the coast of Portugal. “We saw smoke ascend from different parts,” he adds, “and thence concluded that it was inhabited.”
During the night of 8 October, the Endeavour was also forced to ply off and on. Daybreak on 9 October again found her to leeward (south) of Poverty Bay. The point which was named “Young Nick's Head” is now specifically referred to for the first time. It is described in the 8 a.m. entry in the Canberra logbook as “a bluff head at the southward of the bay.” Banks, at that hour, describes the land as “very near us and makes into many white cliffs like chalk.”
The swivel guns were now brought up from the hold and fixed. At noon, the first attempt was made to round Young Nick's Head, but the Endeavour was driven away to the north. Cook, at this stage, says: “We saw in the Bay several Canoes, People upon the Shore, and some houses in the Country. The land on the Sea Coast is high with Steep Cliffs and back Inland are very high Mountains. The face of the Country is of a hilly surface and appears to be cloathed with Verdure.”page 21
Cook makes only bare mention of the return of the Endeavour, and of sailing her into Poverty Bay. In the Canberra logbook, it is stated that, as the vessel approached the entrance, several houses, large canoes and some people were seen. Shortly afterwards, the canoes returned to the place from which they had come, “not appearing to take the slightest notice of us.” Parkinson, referring to the houses, says that they seemed to be thatched, and that the eaves went down to the ground. Close to one of them, a good many people had assembled. “They sat down on the beach,” he adds, “seemingly observing us.” Some details noted by Banks also make interesting reading:
“On a small peninsula at the north-east head [Tuamotu Island, but called by Parkinson ‘Morai Island’] we could,” he says, “plainly see a Regular Paling pretty high inclosing the Top of a hill [a pa named Uruhangenge]. For what purpose it is used many conjectures were made. Most are of the opinion, or say at least, it must, or shall be, either a park for Deer or a field of Oxen and Sheep.”
Exactly how far the Endeavour was anchored off the mouth of the Turanganui River is uncertain. Cook gives the distance as half a league; Banks, as two miles; Parkinson, as from two to three miles; and the Canberra logbook, as one mile. The anchorage was probably between a mile and a mile and a half away. Cook fixes it by stating that the N.E. point of the bay bore E. by S. ½ S. and the S.W. point S. The vessel was drawing 13 ft. 7 in. both fore and aft.
Natives Mistake Ship for a Bird
When Polack visited Poverty Bay in 1836, he was told (New Zealand: Travels and Adventures, Vol. I, p. 15) that the Endeavour was at first mistaken by the natives for a bird, and that many remarks passed among the people as to the beauty and the size of its wings. He continues:
“Upon seeing a smaller bird unfledged (without sails) descending into the water, and a number of parti-coloured beings, but apparently in the human shape, also descend, they regarded the larger bird as a houseful of divinities…. The astonishment of the people of Turanga on seeing Cook's ship was so great that they were benumbed with fear, but presently, recollecting themselves, they felt determined to find out if the gods (as the newcomers were thought to be) were as pugnacious as themselves…. Many of the natives observed that they felt themselves taken ill by only being particularly looked upon by these atuas (gods) and it was, therefore, agreed that, as these newcomers could bewitch by a simple look, the sooner their society was dismissed the better it would be for the general welfare.”
Among Cook's companions there were several notable persons. Banks was a wealthy Lincolnshire squire; he had committed page 22 himself to a personal outlay of £10,000 in connection with his side of the expedition. Solander, who was a Swede, was on the staff of the British Museum; he had been a student under Linnæus, the eminent botanist. Green was assistant to the Astronomer-Royal at Greenwich Observatory. Isaac Smith, one of the seamen, was a half-cousin to Mrs. Cook; he rose to the rank of admiral. The middy Magra (or Matra) belonged to a rich and loyal New York family; he became British Consul at Tangier. Gore, Clerke, Molineux, Pickersgill and Wilkinson had been round the world in the Dolphin. Clerke had served in the war against France from its outbreak in 1756. He was in the mizzen top of the Bellona when Courageux shot away her mast and it was carried overboard.
The First Landing
Soon after he had dropped anchor, Cook went on shore with Banks and Solander. Doubtless, Tupaea was also one of the party. Discrepancies appear in the accounts of the landing. Only the pinnace and yawl are mentioned by Cook as having been used. Parkinson, however, says that the longboat was also taken; that it was sent up the river in search of water; and that the water was found to be brackish, “in which we were disappointed.” Banks merely states that the journey was made “in the hopes of finding water.” Then, again, Cook does not say that he took the marines with him, but Banks, Parkinson and the Canberra logbook all agree that the marines left the ship. Cook proceeds:
“We landed abreast of the ship and on the E side of the [Turanganui] River [Boat Harbour] … but, seeing some of the natives on the other side of the river, whom I was desirous of speaking with, and finding we could not ford the River, I ordered the yawl in to carry us over and the pinnace to lay at the Entrance. In the meantime, the Indians made off. However, we went as far as their Hutts, which lay about 2 or 300 yards from the waterside [northern side of Waikanae Creek] leaving 4 boys to take care of the Yawl, which we had no sooner left than 4 Men came out of the Woods on the other [the eastern] side of the River [western slopes of Kaiti Hill] and would certainly have cut her off had not the People in the Pinnace discover'd them and call'd to her to drop down the Stream, which they did, being closely pursued by the Indians….”
It was at this juncture that the first of several unfortunate slayings took place. The coxswain of the pinnace, in an attempt to intimidate the natives, fired twice over their heads. [Parkinson says that the first shot was fired from a musketoon.] The first shot caused the natives to stop and look around, but they took no notice of the second. A third shot was then fired, and it killed one of the natives [Banks says the chief] upon the spot just as he was going to throw his spear at the boat. [The name of the page 23 victim was Te Maro.] The other three stood motionless for a minute or two “wondering (as Cook puts the matter) what it was that had thus killed their Comrade.” As soon as they had recovered their senses, they dragged the body a little way. [Banks says about one hundred yards.]
“The native was shot through the heart. He was a middling-sized man, tattowed on one cheek only in spiral lines very regularly formed. He was covered with a fine cloth of a manufacture totally new to us. It was tied on exactly as represented in Mr. Dalrymple's book, page 63. His hair was also tied in a knot on the top of his head, but with no feather stuck in it. His complexion was brown, but not very dark.”
The boats returned to the ship at 6 p.m. Parkinson mentions that some members of the party shot some ducks of a very large size, and that Banks and Solander gathered a variety of curious plants in flower. Soon afterwards, they heard the people on shore talking very loudly, “consulting, probably, as to what is to be done on the morrow.” A strict watch was kept all night, “lest they should come off in their canoes and surprise us.”
Cook's Secret Orders
The whole of the text of the “Additional Secret Instructions” which were handed, in a sealed packet, to Cook before he sailed from England in 1768 did not become known to the general public until over a century and a half afterwards. Cook was instructed not to open this packet until he had carried out his first set of “Secret Orders,” which merely instructed him to proceed to Tahiti, where he was to take observations in connection with the Transit of Venus. Wharton (Captain Cook's Journal: 1893) says: “The exact text of Cook's orders cannot be given. They were secret orders; but, curiously enough, although the covering letter which enjoined him to show them to nobody, and which is dated 30 July, 1768, is duly entered in the Admiralty records, the orders themselves, which should have followed in the letter-book, are omitted. They have never been published.”
It seems that Wharton overlooked the fact that the gist of the “Additional Secret Instructions” had appeared in the general introduction to Volume 1 of A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World, written by Captain Cook and George Forster, F.R.S., and published in Dublin in 1777. “I was further ordered,” Cook states, “to proceed directly to Otaheite and, after the astronomical observations should be completed, to prosecute the design of making discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean by page 24 proceeding to the south as far as the Latitude of 40 deg.; then, if I found no land, to proceed to the west between 40 deg. and 35 deg. till I fell in with New Zealand, which I was to explore and then return to England by such route as I was to think proper….”
In 1923, the Commonwealth Government purchased in London Cook's copy of the “Additional Secret Instructions.” It was, however, reluctant to release the whole of the text, as it intended to publish an official document on the subject. Some details—they did not amount to more than was published by Cook and Forster in 1777—were given to Professor G. A. Wood and Dr. J. A. Harrop in 1924. Further secrecy became futile when the Admiralty, in 1928, released its copy to Professor J. Holland Rose (Professor of Naval History at Cambridge University), who made the text known at a meeting of the Royal Geographical Society in London on 17 December, 1928.
The full text appears in the Navy Records Society's Naval Miscellanies, Vol. 3, 1928, p. 343 et seq., and the salient points are as follows:
“Whereas the making of discoveries of countries hitherto unknown and the attaining of a knowledge of distant parts, which, though formerly discovered, have yet been imperfectly explored, will redound greatly to the honour of this nation as a Maritime Power, as well as to the dignity of the Crown of Great Britain, and may tend greatly to the advancement of the trade and navigation thereof.
“And, whereas there is reason to imagine that a continent, or land of great extent, may be found to the southward of the tract lately made by Captain Wallis in His Majesty's ship the Dolphin (of which you will herewith receive a copy) or of the tract of any former navigators in pursuits of the like kind; you are, therefore, in pursuance of His Majesty's pleasure, hereby required and directed to put to sea with the bark you command, so soon as the observation of the transit of the planet Venus shall be finished, and observe the following instructions:
“You are to proceed to the southward in order to make discovery of the continent above mentioned until you arrive in the latitude of 40 deg., unless you sooner fall in with it: but, not having discovered it in that run, you are to proceed in search of it to the westward, between the latitude before mentioned and the latitude of 35 deg., until you discover it or fall in with the Eastern side of the land discovered by Tasman and now called New Zealand.
“If you discover the continent above mentioned, either in your run to the southward or to the westward, as above directed, you are to employ yourself diligently in exploring as great an extent of the coast as you can…. You are also to observe the nature of the soil and the products thereof…. You are likewise to observe the genius, temper, disposition and number of the natives, if there be any, and endeavour, by all proper means, to cultivate a friendship and alliance with them, making them presents of such trifles as they may value, inviting them to traffic, and showing them every kind of civility and page 25 regard, taking care, however, not to suffer yourself to be surprised by them, but to be always upon your guard against any accident.
“You are also, with the consent of the natives, to take possession of convenient situations in the country in the name of the King of Great Britain; or, if you find the country uninhabited, take possession for His Majesty by setting up proper marks and inscriptions as first discoverers and possessors.
“But, if you should fail of discovering the continent before mentioned you will, upon falling in with New Zealand, carefully observe the latitude and longitude in which that land is situated and explore as much of the coast as the condition of the bark, the health of her crew, and the state of your provisions will admit of, having always great attention to reserve as much of the latter as will enable you to reach some known Port, where you may procure a sufficiency to carry you to England, either round the Cape of Good Hope, or Cape Horn, as from circumstances you may judge the most eligible way of returning home….
“Given &c the 30th of July, 1768, Ed. Hawke, Py. Brett, C. Spencer.”
It is quite clear that, if Cook had discovered a large land mass to the south of Tahiti, or to the east of New Zealand, he would not have been obliged to include New Zealand in his voyage. Seemingly, the British authorities knew (or believed) in 1768 that New Zealand was a small and separate land! As no continent lay in those portions of the South Pacific which Cook was required to examine, he set to work to chart the coasts of New Zealand. No fault could have been found with him if he had not completed that task, seeing that his instructions called upon him to desist should a continuation of the work appear likely to imperil his vessel or endanger the lives of those on board. He was not required even to touch at Australia.
In this survey of Cook's doings in Poverty Bay and on the East Coast, important information from his hitherto unpublished holograph notes is incorporated by the kind permission of the Library Committee of the Mitchell Library (Sydney), which supplied photostat copies of the original sheets. Some of the fresh details throw new light on various outstanding incidents. According to the Mitchell Librarian, the holograph notes found their way, many years ago, into the hands of John Mackrell, of the County of Surrey, who was a descendant of one of Cook's relatives. When his collection was displayed at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London in 1886, some of the material, including the notes, was purchased by the New South Wales Government. It is plain from Hawkesworth's official account of the Endeavour's voyage that he did not have access to these notes.
The logbook referred to in this survey as the Canberra logbook was kept in astronomical time; its compiler has not been identified. It is now in the Commonwealth National Library at Canberra, as also is the only journal of the voyage that is in Cook's own handwriting. They were page 26 purchased in London by the Commonwealth Government in 1923. For photostat copies of the Poverty Bay-East Coast sections of both, the writer was indebted to Kenneth Binns Esq., the Librarian.
Wharton's dates in Captain Cook's Journal (1893) are adopted in this survey. Cook used ship's time—noon to noon. According to this method of reckoning, he entered Poverty Bay on the afternoon of 9 October, 1769. In ship's time, 9 October began at noon on 8 October. Hawkesworth, the editor of the official story of the voyage, changed ship's time, 9 October, to civil time, 8 October, but omitted to add an extra day for “westing,” the Endeavour having crossed the 180th degree shortly before reaching Poverty Bay.
The handsome granite memorial to Cook at Gisborne stands within a stone's throw of Boat Harbour—a gut in the papa shelf on Kaiti Beach—where he made his first landing in New Zealand. It was the first, and is the finest, tribute in stone to him in the Dominion. Archdeacon H. W. Williams was chairman, and W. J. Gaudin secretary, of the committee (formed in 1902) which promoted the movement. Mrs. G. W. Sampson had charge of the children's section, which aimed at obtaining a donation, limited to one penny per scholar, from each school in New Zealand. In all, the juveniles contributed £203. The Stephen's Island native school (which had only four pupils) sent 7/-. A contribution of £150 was accepted from the District Patriotic Committee, which, however, stipulated that tablets bearing the names of the residents who had served in the Boer War should be affixed to the monument. On account of widespread protests, the soldiers' names were afterwards erased and inscribed on panels on the Trafalgar band rotunda. The Government made a grant of £500 towards the cost of the memorial (£1,066). It was unveiled on 8 October, 1906
Upon the Cook Monument in Gisborne there is the following inscription:
Is Erected to Commemorate
The First Landing
In New Zealand
At Poverty Bay
Of Captain Cook
On Sunday, 8 October, 1769.
The correct date of the landing, however, was (as Wharton explains) 9 October, 1769. Bamford and Hight (The Constitutional History and Law of New Zealand, p. 19) accept that date. They say: “… The expedition sailed south-westward till it sighted the New Zealand coast on 7 October, 1769. Cook landed on the 9th at an inlet which he subsequently named Poverty Bay.”
The old cast-iron cannon which rests upon a concrete base alongside the Cook Monument at Gisborne attracts special attention on account of the claim made on its behalf that it is one of the carriage guns which were put overboard to lighten the Endeavour when she ran on the Barrier Reef (Qd.) in June, 1770, and were not retrieved. It was bought in 1919 by Mr. G. J. Black whilst he was on a visit to Queensland, its cost (£50) being subscribed by himself and his fellow-members of the Poverty Bay branch of the N.Z. Philosophical Institute. According to the vendor (Captain W. C. Thompson, of s.s. Wyandra) the cannon was recovered by a Japanese diver off Cooktown in 1903. It is 3 ft. 8 in. long and weighs about 2 cwt.
As Wharton (Captain Cook's Journal: 1893) says that the guns in question were made of brass, inquiries were made by the writer from the page 27 director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, to clear up all doubt on the matter. His reply (4/6/1946) stated: “If the gun is really made of cast iron, it cannot be one of the guns that belonged to the Endeavour. It is not strictly correct to say, as Wharton does, that the Endeavour's guns were made of ‘brass.’ Brass is an alloy of copper and tin. The so-called ‘brass guns’ were made of a special gunmetal, but definitely not iron. The obvious objection to iron—that it rusts quickly— made it important that some alloy should be employed.” A cannon of the type used in Cook's day, and supplied by the British Admiralty, stands at the foot of the Cook Monument at Ship's Cove (Queen Charlotte Sound).
“Cook's expedition was intended to pave the way for the breaking down of Spain's claim to control the Pacific. Carteret (1766–69) had found a garrison of Spaniards on the Island of Juan Fernandez. The observation of the Transit of Venus at Tahiti was a mere ‘blind.’”—Professor J. Holland Rose (17/12/1928).
Polack says that an axe and a tomahawk were among the gifts which Cook made at Poverty Bay. The descendants of James Wilson (Hemi Wirihana) treasured in Poverty Bay for many years an axehead which, it was believed, Cook gave to a Mahia chief. Its wooden handle had been replaced by a handle fashioned from whalebone. A story handed down with the axe was to the effect that Cook gave an axe to one chief and some turnip seed to another. He was disbelieved when he averred that the seed would prove the more valuable gift. The “Wilson” axe is now in the Wairoa district.