Menu Close

More land

Abel Tasman banner

For two days they sailed North-west, distancing themselves from the trap they’d found themselves in. But on Dec 28th, they turned back towards the coast, to resume their exploration of the land.

“In the morning at daybreak we made sail again, set our course to eastward in order to ascertain whether the land we had previously seen in 40° extends still further northward, or whether it falls away to eastward.“

They didn’t have to wait long, and at mid-day, they sighted land again.

“At noon we saw east by north of us a high mountain which we at first took to be an island; but afterwards we observed that it forms part of the mainland.”

They had seen Mount Karioi, near Raglan, and they marked it on the chart but gave it no name. Tasman did however name a place that he didn’t see.


A detail of Visscher’s chart showing Cape Pieter Boreels and Mount Karioi

As they were struggling to get out of the South Taranaki Bight, they’d seen that the land extended from them to the North West. Now that they were back against the land they realised they were in a similar longitude… so somewhere in between, there had to be a Cape… they just hadn’t seen it.

Tasman named this Cape Pieter Boreels and it was duly added to the chart.

We can know for certain that Tasman never actually saw this land, because it has a particularly striking and distinctive feature that he would have noted as an important navigational landmark. If he had seen it, then Tasman would have recorded this. Moreover, it is such a distinctive feature that it would have been drawn on a coastal survey, and its latitude would have been recorded for future mariners.

Mount Taranaki from Cape Egmont

Mount Taranaki from Cape Egmont

When Cook came past the Cape 127 years later, he wrote this:

“at 5 a.m. saw for a few Minutes the Top of the Peaked Mountain above the Clouds bearing North-East. It is of a prodidgious height and its Top is cover’d with Everlasting Snow; it lies in the Latitude of 39 degrees 16 minutes South, and in the Longitude of 185 degrees 15 minutes West. I have named it Mount Egmont in honour of the Earl of Egmont”
Me, halfway up Mount Karioi

Me, halfway up Mount Karioi

Lord Egmont was a former first Lord of the Admiralty, and an important supporter of Cook’s voyage. These days we also know Mount Egmont as Mount Taranaki. It is 2500m high and in the right weather conditions can be seen from over 200km away.

But it was another mountain that Tasman saw when they came back to the coast; Mount Karioi.

Mount Karioi as drawn in Tasman's journal: 'A view of the Staete Landt in 38° 30′ S. Latitude'

Mount Karioi as drawn in Tasman’s journal: ‘A view of the Staete Landt in 38° 30′ S. Latitude’

Tasman's progress up the West Coast of the North Island

Tasman’s progress up the West Coast of the North Island

For the next few days they had an uneventful passage up the West Coast of the North Island. But now they were rightly cautious about getting too close to shore. “we turned our course to the north-west so as not to come too near the shore and prevent accidents “

On the morning of December 30th they passed the entrance to the Manukau harbour, and two days later they passed the entrance to the Kaipara Harbour. However, Tasman mentioned neither of these; he was too far out to sea for them to be visible. When Cook came past in 1770, he too exercised the same caution, and these harbours weren’t marked on his map of New Zealand either.

On January 4th however, the lie of the land changed and fell away to their East. They had reached the northern extremity of mainland New Zealand.

“In the morning we found ourselves near a cape, and had an island north-west by north of us, upon which we hoisted the white flag for the Officers of the Zeehaan to come on board of us, with whom we resolved to touch at the island aforesaid to see if we could there get fresh water, vegetables, etc. At noon Latitude observed 34° 35′, Longitude 191° 9′; course kept north-east, sailed 15 myles, with the wind south-east. Towards noon we drifted in a calm and found ourselves in the midst of a very heavy current which drove us to the westward. There was besides a heavy sea running from the north-east here, which gave us great hopes of finding a passage here. This cape which we had east-north-east of us is in 34° 30′ South Latitude. The land here falls away to eastward.

They named the cape after Maria van Diemen, wife of the Governor of Batavia, and that name remains in use to this day. To their North West they saw an Island, and resolved to see if they could find water and vegetables there.

They had last filled their water barrels in Mauritius.

Posted in Abel Tasman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *