The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 11 (March 1, 1929)
Early Estimates of Height
Early Estimates of Height.
Taranaki's height, 8,260ft., seems greater because of its isolation from all other mountains. Captain Cook, who discovered it in 1770, and named it after the Earl of Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty, described it as “of a prodigious height,” but did not record any measurement. Dr. Forster, on Cook's second voyage, in 1773, estimated its height at 14,760 feet. Marion du Fresne, who named it Mascarin Peak, after his frigate, calculated that it was about as high as the Peak of Teneriffe. Bellingshausen, the Russian admiral, sighted it in 1820; one of his navigating officers recorded its height as 9,947 feet, and another as 8,232 feet—the nearest of any shot at its altitude.
There is no mountain in New Zealand that sends forth to the sea so many rivers and rills. A pioneer surveyor of Taranaki once told me that there were exactly 360 streams flowing down through the circular mountain reserve, one for every degree of the circle.