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250 years of James COOK’s arrival and his encounter with Tupaia
The British navigator and explorer was born in Marton, England in 1728. At the age of 18, COOK entered the merchant navy, and took advantage of his years of commerce to study mathematics, trigonometry, navigation and astronomy. Quickly, he accesses command of a Royal Navy ship. In 1768,
the Royal Society entrusted him with the exploration of the South Pacific Ocean and the study of the transit of Venus from Tahiti. His first trip around the world will last three years on board the HMB Endeavour with a hundred men, including several scientists. He left Plymouth harbour in august 1768 and crossed Cape Horn in January 1769 to enter the Pacific and arrived in Tahiti on April 12th, 1769. He built a fort in Matavai Bay to observe the transit of Venus, now known as Venus Point, in the municipality of Mahina. This threemonth stay also allowed valuable discoveries by scientists Joseph BANKS and Sydney PARKINSON as in particular the importance of the Uru (fruit of the bread tree).
He met Tupaia, a scholar Polynesian from Raiatea, son of Ari'i (chief and notable), who had a perfect grasp of the navigation techniques inherited from the elders, also tahu'a (priest), linguist, artist and warrior of his island.
Fascinated by his navigational knowledge, botanist Joseph BANKS insisted that Tupaia board the Endeavour to continue this tour of the world. On board, Tupaia, who had memorized the mapping of the entire Polynesian triangle (several times equivalent to the surface of Europe) tells James COOK the direction to the New Zealand, which they reach in October 1769. Thanks to the diplomacy of Tupaia, character recognized as tahu'a native of the sacred island of Raiatea, COOK was able to
realize during several month, numerous discoveries.
Tupaia also represents for Maori the reconnection with these islands of Polynesia from where their canoes had left several decades previously. After
the passage in New Zealand, James COOK's boat resumes the trip by goes along the Australian coast, then Indonesian and Tupaia died in Batavia (Jakarta) from the consequences of a disease in 1770. Captain COOK’s "Ma'ohi" journeyperson, Tupaia, is still a landmark figure in the history of the New Zealand Maori. Its arrival 250 years ago will be commemorated throughout 2019, with the gathering of all the traditional canoes of the different tribes in the waters of the capital, Wellington.
A canoe from Tahiti will take part in the festivities. After this first crossing, James COOK will carry out two other expeditions in the Pacific and tragically died in 1779, during a dispute with natives of the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii).
Unit price: 330 FCFP (2,77 €)
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