Tuia – Encounters 250: Cook’s place names around New Zealand - Endeavour Inlet

Endeavour inlet
Photo Credit: Digitaltrails – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Over the course of his three voyages, Cook spent more than the 100 days in Meretoto / Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui. On his first voyage it provided safe anchorage to beach the HMB Endeavour and clean her hull, restock food, and learn about the local Māori. Cook then used the sound as a refuelling stop on his next two voyages.

On Cook’s charts, he referred to this cove as ‘West Bay’ (with a corresponding East Bay on the other side of Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui). On the second voyage, the master of HMS Adventure, Peter Fannin, also used the name on his chart.

Like many of Cook’s less imaginative names, it has been replaced – indeed, it’s possible to argue that Cook never meant for this name to stick, but was merely describing a place.

In the early 1850s, Captain John Lort Stokes arrived in the survey steamship HMS Acheron and surveyed the sounds. It is likely that Stokes renamed the cove ‘Endeavour Inlet’ after the ship on Cook’s first voyage (but it may have been someone else on the ship or back in Britain at the Hydrographical Office). This is one of many ‘memorial names’ scattered throughout Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui.

Others include:

Another name that stems from this time is Mount Stokes. An 1855 version of Stokes’ charts showed this as Mount Cook, but this name was then applied to Aoraki further south and Stokes’ name was used instead. Stokes’ middle name – Lort – is used on a Fiordland peak, making him one of very few people to have two New Zealand peaks named after him.


Last Updated: 20 February 2019