A new plaque honouring James Cook was unveiled on Whitby's Cook Statue on Monday, 2nd April 1984 by the High Commissioner of New Zealand for Britain, William Young, on behalf of his country's government.
Mr Young said "This is a great occasion for New Zealand and Yorkshire, when we pay great tribute to one of your distinguished sons, Captain James Cook - a scientific observer, a navigator and surveyor of extraordinary skill, a great leader of men and, above all, a humanitarian.
"The plaque about to be unveiled records New Zealand's recognition of that great man in the town of Whitby, from which he sailed on many occasions.
"I have heard it said that there are something like 200 statues and memorials of one kind and another to James Cook around the world. We have several in New Zealand. But none can be more significant than this one overlooking Whitby Harbour."
Mr Young had noticed during a visit to the town a year ago that there was no plaque from his country on the statue (Australia and Canada have one) and that there was a blank space at the bottom of one side.
The plaque bears a quotation from the writings of David Samwell, surgeon's mate on Cook's Third Voyage. The full text is:
THIS PLAQUE WAS PRESENTED BY THE PEOPLE OF NEW ZEALAND IN TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT NAVIGATOR CAPTAIN JAMES COOK RN FRS AND THE MEN WHO SAILED WITH HIM ON HIS VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
"IN EVERY SITUATION HE STOOD UNRIVALLED AND ALONE; ON HIM ALL EYES WERE TURNED"
UNVEILED BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR NEW ZEALAND THE HON. W.L. YOUNG 2nd APRIL 1984
Information from Stan Muscroft.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 288, volume 7, number 3 (1984).
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