Mereototo / Ship Cove was Captain Cook’s favourite Pacific harbour in Totaranui / Queen Charlotte Sound, on the edge of Cook Strait, with access to the Tasman Sea or the Pacific Ocean. He spent 100 days there during his three Pacific voyages, and his ships visited for around 200 days.
So, it was a good place for the New Zealand branch of the CCS to visit on Friday, 7 May, 2021. There was a great deal of history to think about for the 35 members, and some senior students and teachers from three local schools. We all had a good day on a large catamaran out of Picton, with commentary from local guides Peter Jerram and John Hellstrom, and from Raymond Smith of Ngāti Kuia, one of the original iwi in residence when Endeavour arrived in January 1770. Raymond is the Chair of the Tōtaranui250 Trust, part of the Tuia 250 commemorations. John and Peter are past co-Chairs. With most of the NZ CCS members present, Brian Wyeth made the comment that there was enough weight of knowledge on board to sink MV Odyssea!1
The trip stopped beneath Cook’s Lookout, where the myth of the supposed Southern Continent was laid to rest by Cook when he viewed the strait named after him. Then we followed Endeavour’s route down the east side of Motuara Island and the Hippa, where contact was first made with local Māori on their defensive pā.
At Ship Cove, Raymond welcomed the group with a mihi/ traditional welcome, and spoke beneath the pou/carved pole recognising the arrival of the great traveller Kupe, about his contribution to the Aotearoa story.