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Captain Cook's rich history with the tiny bay of Meretoto, in Queen Charlotte Sounds


A replica of Captain Cook's Endeavour is retracing the British explorer's route to mark the 250th anniversary of his arrival in New Zealand.

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Tamati Rimene-Sproat checks out what was one of Captain James Cook’s favourite places. Source: Seven Sharp

One of his favourite places was a tiny bay in Queen Charlotte Sound called Meretoto, where he spent 170 days.

The bay, tucked behind Arapawa in Tōtaranui, would have looked like paradise after months at sea.

However, the history of the cove doesn't start with Cook, but with Kupe, whose discovery of Aotearoa started in Hawaiki, where he chased the great octopus Te Wheke-a-Muturangi.

"Kupe, we consider him to be the greatest navigator for us and we are lucky enough to be related to him so we will always carry on that story," Tōtaranui 250 Trust’s Raymond Smith told Seven Sharp.

Descendants of Tahitian navigator Tupaia, who helped interpret what tangata whenua wanted to Cook, have sailed all the way from Tahiti to be a part of the storytelling.

"Travelling in the footsteps of their ancestor and we say that same thing here, our journey is about remembering the past living for the future," Mr Smith said.

"This is our history and we are proud to say it."