Young Nicks Head (Te Kurī) and Te Kuri a Paoa / Young Nick’s Head National Historic Reserve

Tuia - Encounters 250: Cook’s place names around New Zealand - Young Nicks Head (Te Kurī) and Te Kuri a Paoa / Young Nick’s Head National Historic Reserve

Photo of Young Nick's Head
Photo Credit: 46568 - Lloyd Homer - GNS Science | Te Pū Ao - All rights reserved

Paoa was an early ancestor of the people of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa. He was captain of the Horouta canoe, which arrived in the early 14th century. There are many accounts of Paoa’s travels, both of how he came to Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay and his journeys further south, and his name is represented in several places in the landscape.

One of these places is a headland south of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa, named Te Kurī-a-Paoa after Paoa’s kurī (dog) which he reportedly lost during his travels.

When Cook arrived in 1769, he named the same headland Young Nicks Head, after 12-year-old Nicholas Young, the first person on board to sight New Zealand. Nick may have been a servant to the surgeon William Monkhouse, the surgeon’s mate William Perry or the naturalist Joseph Banks. He had spotted land (probably mountain ranges further inland) from the masthead on 5 October 1769. In addition to having a geographic feature named after him, Nick received two gallons of rum.

In 2012, as part of the Ngai Tāmanuhiri Claims Settlement Act, the headland was vested in Ngāi Tāmanuhiri as a national historic reserve and the name officially altered to a dual name, Te Kuri a Paoa / Young Nick’s Head National Historic Reserve.

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Last Updated: 11 February 2019