NZ100S - A Chart of Part of New Zealand (South Island)
The Island of TOVYPOENAMMU. The full title of this beautiful chart, reads 'A Chart of part of New Zealand or the Island of TOVYPOENAMMU lying in the South Sea by Lieutenant J. Cook, Commander of His Majestey's Bark The Endeavour. 1770'. The chart was produced on Cook's return from this first voyage (1768-71) to the southern seas.
- James Cook
- h49" x w42"
The chart is the accumulation of several surveys made over the course of six months by Cook and members and his crew aboard the Endeavour.
Ideally it should be studied alongside his journals which give a wonderful insight into the experiences and thoughts behind the voyage. It is one of two such charts, the other showing the North island (Heritage Charts NZ100N).
In this 'age of discovery' it was common practice among British surveyors to give English names to settlements, islands, rivers, harbors and other navigable features. For Cook to retain the native Maori name 'TOVYPOENAMMU' for this, the South Island, is a clear mark of respect shown by him. It remains however one of less than half a dozen such reference to indigenous culture included. He does the same on his chart of the North Island (NZ100N).
Included on the chart, around the entire coastline, is the track of the Endeavour as it explores the coastline, complete with significant soundings taken on the way. The chart gives little information as to in-land geographic information other than the indication of mountains. Rivers, forests and settlements are not marked simply because it was Cooks mission to survey the coast looking for safe harbor, settlements, fresh water and sustenance. It is an interesting feature of this chart that the coast-line at the southern tip is of the island between Cape West (now Fiordland National Park) and Molineaux's Bay (modern day 'Slope Point'), including what we now call Stewart Island is incomplete, rather suggesting that Cook did not survey that part of the coastline.
In reality Cook was experiencing some extreme weather and on the 25th February 1770 he had made it south as far as Cape Saunders and expressed in his journal some doubts, as well as uncertainty as to whether New Zealand was in fact an Island. He says; 'I had some thoughts of bearing up for one of these places (sheltered Bays north of Cape Saunders) in the morning when the wind came to SW, but the fear of loseing time and the desire I have had of pushing to the southward in order to see as much of the coast as possible, or if this land should prove to be an Island to get round it, prevented me'.
It wasn't't until the 11th March that he observed Solander's Island before West Cape on the 14th having endured few sightings of land and some extreme weather since leaving Cape Saunders. Of the area now know as Fiordland National Park (Cape West) Cook recorded in his journal 'no country upon earth can appear with a more rugged and barren aspect than this doth from the sea for as far inland as the eye can reach nothing is to be seen but the summits of these rocky mountains which seem to lay so near one another as not to admit any Vallies between them.'
Of the land he witnessed on the voyage up the west coast to Cape Farewell Cook notes that the land; 'It riseth into hills directly from the sea and is cover'd with wood. While we was there upon this part of the coast the weather was foggy in so much that we could see but a very little way in land. However we sometimes saw the summits of the Mountains above the fogg and clowds which plainly shew'd that the inland parts were high and Mountainous and gave me great reason to think that thier is a continued chain of Mountains from the one End of the Island to the other.'
Knowledge of how to record Latitude was at the time quite accurate and by way of example, Cook places Cape Saunders at Latitude 45° 55"S, which compares well with today's satellite position of 45° 86"S. Fixing Longitude in 1769 however was still in its infancy but Cook shows a great deal of accuracy on his chart by placing it at 189° 4"W (170° 6"E) Longitude compared to an actual fix of 170° 74"E. Overall, this translates to a potential navigational error of about 20 nautical miles, which is very good for the day.
It had taken Cook nearly 6 months to complete this survey starting from his first sighting of land on the 7th October 1769, until the decision was made to sail west to reach New Holland on the 31st March 1770.
- A Chart of Part of New Zealand (South Island)