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Finding New Zealand

24 November 2009

Finding New Zealand

Intriguing and rarely seen early maps, including the meticulous cartography of Abel Tasman’s early discoveries and Captain Cook’s explorations from the First and Second Voyages, are on exhibition at Our City O-Tautahi.

The exhibition Finding New Zealand - how maps show the exploration and development of New Zealand delivers a taste of the excitement and wonder of ‘newly’ discovered lands.

The exhibition is jointly curated by Paul Arnold, proprietor of the Antique Print Gallery in New Regent Street, and Neil McKinnon of Timaru, the New Zealand representative of the International Map Collectors’ Society.

Also featured are maps from the 18th Century Italian cartographer Antonio Zatta, who published an atlas in four-volumes. This atlas was the first to show the whole of New Zealand and a map of Australasia recording Captain Cook's Voyages. The maps are a rare opportunity to voyage with Captain Cook and ‘view’ features as he may have experienced them.

Early in the 19th Century, Cook’s chart had been modified. The 1838 map of New Zealand, published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, no longer shows Banks Peninsula as an island; Stewart Island is now shown as an island. However, on the same map, the non-existent Taranaki Bay and Knowsley River appear.

19th Century Canterbury provincial maps on display reflect the important decisions made by Provincial Government that affected the development and early settlement of the region, said Mr Arnold.

“Locals will be interested in the folding map of the Province published in 1856 by Stanford. An inset map of Christchurch shows numbered land purchases, accompanied by a list of the original buyers.

“The Hansard publication with the chart of Bank's Peninsula published in 1850 is a scarce item and contains two other maps by John Arrowsmith - one of the Middle or South Island of New Zealand and one of the country to the North of the Great Southern Plain.”

The exhibition at Our City O-Tautahi opens Tuesday 24 November 2009 – Saturday 9 January 2010, Monday –Saturday 10am – 4pm, corner of Worcester Boulevard and Oxford Terrace. Admission is free.


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