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°.... ...you 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
The map on the souvenir sheet is based on Cook’s survey
of 1769 and 1770.