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Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 1, Issue 5, October 1985


page 34

On the 16 February 1985 the last of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust plaques marking James Cook's New Zealand landing places was unveiled at Whareatea Bay on the east coast of D'Urville Island.

The unveiling party were welcomed ashore by the tangata whenua, members of Ngati Koata, with full Maori ceremony. This was followed by a brief unveiling ceremony led by Dr Neil Begg, Chairman of the Board of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

The plaque reads:

"James Cook sailed the Endeavour
from this bay on 31 March 1770
leaving New Zealand and steering
west on his long homeward voyage".

Cook's visit to D'Urville Island came at the close of his first visit to New Zealand. It was to be his only landing in what was much later to become the Nelson Land District. The following is one brief attempt to look at the historical evidence of that visit and place it in an historical perspective.