NZ104 - East coast of North Island, New Zealand and Povery Bay
Richard Pickergill's survey of the Poverty Bay and Hawks Bay, North Island, in 1769 presented here is part of Captain James Cook's first survey expedition to New Zealand. The full title of this beautiful chart, reads 'A Chart of a Coast in ye South Sea Discovered by his Majesty's Bark Endeavour. Lieut James Cook between Lat 38° &c 41°S' by Richard Pickersgill'.
- James Cook
- h33" x w33"
Pickersgill was Lieutenant James Cook's Masters Mate on the Endeavour during his first voyage of discovery South 1768-1771. He was a major contributer to Cook's survey activities throughout the journey and was highly regarded by Cook for his skills, not just as a surveyor, but also for his abilities to work and deal with the indigenous peoples they encountered, as well as for his judgment.
The chart presented here covers the stretch of coastline from just above Poverty Bay down to just North of Cape Turnagain (named as the point where Cook decided to turn North again on the 17th October) and covers the Endeavours dates from the 8th October to the 16th October. Included on the chart is the track of the Endeavour in the form of significant soundings as it explored the coastline.
No scale or longitude or latitude is shown on the chart other than 39°(S) on the top left-hand margin. The chart gives little information as to in-land geographic information other than the indication of mountains and major rivers and on small settlements that may be observed from the sea. It was Cook's mission to survey the coast and in doing so to look for safe harbor, settlements, fresh water and sustenance. As such he was not interested in in-land topography.
On the 8th of October 1769 he made his first observation of the land of New Zealand and the bay he would later name 'Poverty bay'. That day Cook made this entry in his daily journal; '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 clothed with wood and Verdure (lush green vegetation)'.
On the 9th October they finally anchored on the NE side before the entrance of a small river in 10 fathom water a fine sandy bottom, as indicated on the chart. Of his first encounters with the natives of the Poverty Bay, on that day Cook records, at the end of his journal entry for the day, a particularly unwelcoming reception upon landing which left at least one native dead from musket fire from Cooks men. He wrote that; 'Finding that nothing was to be done with the people on this side and the water in the river being salt I embarked with an intent to row round the head of the Bay in search of fresh water; and if possible to surprise some of the natives and to take them on board and by good treatment and presents endeavour to gain their friendship with this View on'. And so the New Zealand adventure began, much as it had started on the voyage south through he South Pacific Islands.
Before departing the Bay on the 11th October Cook had finally established a 'trading relationship with some of the 150-200 men that had finally revealed themselves to the visitors, albeit at some human cost'. Pickersgill's chart offers no references to as indigenous culture other than what appear to be some huts or buildings on 'Nick's Head'.
By way of an example of the way in which Cook attached names to significant geographic features or landmarks he discovered is the story entered into his journal for that day(11th October) as they departed the Bay; 'At Noon the SW Point of the Bay of Plenty / which I have named 'Young Nicks Head' after the Boy who first saw this land. Like-wise, his naming of Cape Kidnappers (15th October) is no less personal: 'the Indian Boy Tiata, Tupia's (Cook's Tahitian/Polynesian navigator) servant being over the side, they seized hold of him, pull'd him into the boat and endeavourd to carry him off, this obliged us to fire upon them which gave the Boy an oppertunity to jump over board and we brought the Ship too, lower'd a boat into the Water and took him up unhurt'. Cook goes on to say that 'This affair occation'd my giveing this point of Land the name of Cape Kidnappers'. Hawkes Bay (13th-15th October). Pickersgill shows soundings but does not indicate any anchorages. He does note the 'soft ground' in the depth of the bay as noted in his journal.
Cook further notes on the 15th October that 'I have name'd Hawke's Bay, in Honour of Sr Edward first Lord of the Admiralty'. A not uncommon practice among naval surveyors, looking to cultivate the personal favour and patronage of Senior officers.
It took Cook nearly 6 months to complete his survey of New Zealand 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.
From his 1769-70 exploration of New Zealand and the southern seas Cook returned with no less than 200 surveys. As early as 1773 the surveys made by Cook and Pickersgill were used to produce charts and maps for public consumption. Most notable amongst them is one included in John Hawkesworth's 'An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere (London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773). None however compare with the actual surveys - in the hand of Cook and Pickersgill - such as the one presented here.
- East coast of North Island, New Zealand showing Hawkes Bay and Povery Bay