Spare a thought for the Kiwis

It was on this day in 1642 that the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman first set eyes on New Zealand.

That’s right, the same bloke who discovered Tasmania which carries his name.

The Dutchman didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome from the locals.

The natives thought he was hostile and killed several of his crew, interpreting trumpet signals as a call to arms.

New Zealand is named after the Dutch province of Zeeland, but did not attract further attention until Captain James Cook spotted it and wrote about the islands in the 18th Century.

Whalers, missionaries, andof course traders followed and, in 1840, Britain formally claimed the islands and established New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement at Wellington.

The Tasman sea which lies between Australia and New Zealand is also named after the Dutch explorer.


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