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 New Zealand 981a

     Captain James Cook was appointed to lead an expedition to the South Pacific to observe the transit of Venus. He left England on August 26, 1768 and made the observations on June 3, 1769. He also had a mission described in secret orders “to make discovery of the Continent above-mentioned until you arrive in the Latitude of 40°.... are to proceed in search of it to the Westward between the Latitude before mentioned an the Latitude of 35° until you discover it, or fall in with the Eastern side of the Land discover’d by Tasman and now called New Zealand.”
     He reached the west coast of New Zealand on October 6 (on the map he says October 5, but he had not accounted for the change of day at the anti-meridian, 180°), and began surveying the islands. By mid-December he reached the northern point of the North Island and turned south. He sailed through Cook’s Strait in January. On the east side he found foul weather, which may account for his mistake in identifying Bank’s Peninsula for an island.
     He made Cape South on March 10, and on March 31 left New Zealand for home via the East Indies, New Holland and the Cape of Good Hope.
     The map on the souvenir sheet is based on Cook’s survey of 1769 and 1770.

SCN 981a

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