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Coastline profiles of Great Island, New Zealand


Coastline profiles of Great Island, New Zealand

Gilsemans, Isaac

On 13 December the Zeehaen and Heemskerck sighted what we now know as the South Island of New Zealand. After sailing along its northwest coast for several days the ships anchored on 18th December in what is now Golden Bay. Here the expedition’s leadership resolved to find a place to go ashore and look for supplies. After making contact with the local Maori, a violent encounter ensued on December 19th in which several Dutch crewmembers were killed. Sailing onwards, the expedition traversed what is now known as Cook Strait. Despite suspicions of a passage into the Pacific Ocean, it failed to find the gap between South Island and North Island that would later be discovered by James Cook. In late December and early January the ships followed the coast of North Island until on January 4th they passed what they called Cape Maria van Diemen. This was the western-most part of North Island. They also observed to their northwest, which they named the Three Kings Island. They approached the island, known today as Great Island or Manawatāwhi and anchored there on January 5th.-Isaac Gilsemans, supercargo on board the Zeehaen, made this map of Three Kings Island and the people observed while approaching it. It shows a hilly landscape populated with armed Maori. The explanation at the bottom of the page states that the island was named Three Kings Island as the expedition arrived there at the eve of the 12th day after the birth of Christ on 25th December, which is known as Three Kings Eve.

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Sources and literature

Posthumus Meyjes, De Reizen van Abel Janszoon Tasman en Franchoys Jacobszoon Visscher, ter nadere ontdekking van het Zuidland (Australië) in 1642 - 1644. (1919)