QM2 returns Cook treasures to NZ

Queen Mary 2 arrived in Auckland yesterday with some extra precious cargo.

Possessions carried by Captain James Cook on his 18th century voyage to the South Pacific, including the handwritten account of his first days in New Zealand, are currently on display aboard the Cunard liner.

“Our guests are fascinated to be able to view these items as Queen Mary 2 retraces part of Cook’s course around New Zealand,” Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks said.

The collection includes: Cook’s tea caddy and a spoon which he carried with him on his voyage to New Zealand; signed 1768 correspondence about his preparation for his first voyage to New Zealand aboard Endeavour; and Cook’s handwritten journal from his first voyage to New Zealand.

Drawn from the Cook Collection held at the State Library of NSW, Emeritus Curator Paul Brunton is travelling with the collection and said that this voyage marks the first time the letters in particular have left the library.

“Personal letters written by James Cook are exceptionally rare; there would be less than a dozen of them in the world,” Mr Brunton said.

Recently-named New Zealander of the Year, Dame Anne Salmond, Distinguished Professor of Maori Studies at the University of Auckland and New Zealand’s foremost expert on Cook’s three voyages to the South Pacific boarded Queen Mary 2 in Auckland to view the collection.

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Words: Natalie Aroyan