Place names from Cook’s voyages

Discover the stories of over 260 place names associated with Lieutenant James Cook’s voyages to New Zealand in the late 1700s.

In early October 1769 the HMB Endeavour weighed anchor in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay. Lieutenant Cook and some of his men came ashore in a small boat setting foot for the first time at Kaiti Beach by the mouth of Tūranganui River.

Tuia – Encounters 250 (Tuia 250) was a national commemoration to mark the 250th anniversary of the first encounters on land between Māori and Europeans. Tuia 250 acknowledged not just this pivotal moment in New Zealand’s history but also the extraordinary feats of the Pacific voyagers who had arrived and settled here centuries earlier.

Our contribution to this commemoration was identifying and researching over 260 place names associated with Cook’s explorations around our shores.

Tuia 250 - 2019 commemorations

See the stories in Google Earth

We have made the place names and what we know about them available in Google Earth Projects. They are in chronological order, with the names spelled in the way they were originally recorded on maps or in journals.

Where possible we have included photos of the features and copies of the original hand-drawn charts showing the place names as they were recorded. You can compare these to modern Toitū Te Whenua LINZ’s hydrographic charts.

Click here to open Google Earth Projects

Discover the naming history of thirty significant features

We explored more than thirty of the place names associated with Cook in depth, examining why those names came to be used and how they have changed over time. For many of the places we have restored the original Māori names. Others have been restored through the Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

Some official place names may have been altered since this resource was created. Please check the New Zealand Gazetteer for official names.