Who discovered NZ?

That question about discovering NZ featured in last week’s ep of Vital Signs. The main character, Rhoda, has arranged a pub quiz and 2 teams get into a bit of an ugly conflict over the question/answer to “Who discovered NZ? The answer given by the quiz master was either “Captain Cook” or “James Cook” – can’t remember which. But one team gave the first answer and the other the second. One team said that the rules of the quiz were that a team had to have exactly the same answer as the quiz master to be marked correct. So one team got the point and the other didn’t?????

Leaving aside the problem of the term “discover”, are all the facts in this prog equally well researched?

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About the author

I love fiction TV programmes that are fun,entertaining and/or gripping as well as making some comment on society, politics and/or the state of our relationships. I feel a bit sad that fiction TV seems to be being overtaken by other genres in primetime lately on NZ TV. And I want to see more great British drama series on TV. TVNZ, you're losing the plot!!!
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  • EVS

    Captain James Cook would be the correct answer – or either of the answers given – surely – as they refer to the same person!

  • campgrrls

    Well I assume Vital signs was taking a Euro-centric perspective, in which case Cook wasn’t the first European to “discover” NZ. It is usually said that Abel Tasman “discovered” NZ.


    Altho this website also notes there may have been other Europeans found their way here before Tasman, and, of course, Polynesian navigators discovered NZ before the Europeans.

    This is from the Governor General’s website:


    The great explorer Kupe, who legend says first discovered New Zealand, named the new land Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud.

    The first documented European to discover New Zealand was Dutch navigator Abel Tasman, who came here in 1642 in search of the fabled great southern continent. Over a 125 years later, Captain James Cook claimed it for Britain in 1769 and produced a map of the country.


    The tribes of the South Island believe that Rakaihautu discovered New Zealand – as he is said to have had little food aboard his wakas, he moved to the South Island where moas were available as a food source.

  • EVS

    Oh of course it was Abel Tasman – he gave it our Dutchlike sounding name ^_O
    So Cook would have been the first to discover us from Britain ?????
    And Kupe the first from Polynesia…..
    And anyone else that passed by in ancient times 🙂
    Great topic I reckon 😀
    And now I know why there is a place called Zeehan in Tassie 😀