New Zealand Place names

Poverty Bay

(Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay)

11 October

“because it afforded us no one thing we wanted”

38.7°S 177.966667°E

Young Nicks Head / TeKuri o Pāoa

11 October

After the 11-year-old boy who won a gallon of rum for being the first to sight land[3]

38.757°S 177.9636°E

Table Cape

(Table Cape / Kahutara Point)

12 October

Shape and flat top

39.115°S 177.995°E

Isle of Portland

(Portland Island)

12 October

"on account of its very great resemblance to Portland in the English Channel"

39.283333°S 177.866667°E

Cape Kidnapper

(Cape Kidnappers / TeKauwae-a-Māui)

15 October

For the attempt to kidnap Tupaia's young acolyte, Taiata[4]

39.644693°S 177.093258°E

Hawkes Bay

15 October

Sir Edward Hawke

39.333333°S 177.5°E

Cape Turnagain

17 October

Cook sailed Endeavour south to this point, where upon meeting adverse conditions he turned and headed north again

40.4916°S 176.6173°E

Gable End Foreland Head

20 October

"on account of the very great resemblance the white cliff at the very point hath to the Gable end of a House"

38.5275°S 178.2925°E


(Anaura Bay)

22 October

"hath nothing to recommend it I shall give no discription of it"

38.247552°S 178.31593°E

Tolaga Bay

23 October

The crew mistook the local name for this bay as Tolaga. It was actually Uawa[4]

38.366667°S 178.3°E

East Cape

31 October

Easternmost point of land on the whole coast

37.6927°S 178.5497°E

East Island

(East Island / Whangaokeno)

31 October

Off East Cape

37.691292°S 178.575861°E

Cape Runaway

31 October

Five Māori waka frightened away by grape shot fired over their heads[4]

37.55000°S 177.98333°E

Hicks's Bay

(Wharekahika / Hicks Bay)

First sited by Lieutenant Zachary Hickes

37.58333°S 178.30000°E

The lieutenant spelt his name Hickes; Cook wrote it without the "e" and it's stuck

White Island

(Whakaari / White Island)

1 November

Appeared to be white in colour

37.51944°S 177.18167°E

White Island is an active volcano. It was evidently asleep at the time

Bay of Plenty (Bay of Plenty / Te Moana-a-Toi)

In contrast to Poverty Bay

37.66944°S 177.00000°E

The name and its connotation endures, despite being made from the deck of a ship out at sea[5]


(Moutohora Island or Whale Island)

2 November

37.85556°S 176.98333°E

Mount Edgecumbe

(Mount Edgecumbe / Putauaki

2 November

38.10556°S 176.73583°E

Mayor Island

(Mayor Island / Tuhua)

3 November

In recognition of the Lord Mayor's Day to be held in London a few days later

37.28333°S 176.25000°E

Aldermen Islands

3 November

A cluster of islands and rocks reminiscent of the Court of Aldermen

36.96667°S 176.08333°E

Mercury Bay

16 November

Transit of Mercury observed from here

36.78333°S 175.80000°E

The long sandy beach in Mercury Bay where Cook landed in now called Cooks Beach

Opoorage (Purangi Estuary)

16 November

Some scholars argue that Opoorage applied the whole of Mercury Bay[6][7]

36.862592°S 175.70529°E

River of Mangroves

16 November

"As we did not learn that the Natives had any name for this River, I have called it the River of Mangroves, because of the great quantity of these Trees that are found in it"

Thames River

(Waihou River / Firth of Thames)

21 November

"on account of its bearing some resemblance to that River in England"

37.168000°S 175.5416000°E

Cape Colvill

(Cape Colville)

24 November

"in honour of the Right hon'ble the Lord Colvill"

36.469806°S 175.3452972°E

Cook served under Rear Admiral Lord Colville in Newfoundland

Barrier Isles

(Great Barrier Island)

24 November

a chain of islands lying across the mouth of the harbour now known as Coromandel Harbour

36.16667°S 175.38333°E

Point Rodney

(Cape Rodney)

24 November

36.28333°S 174.81667°E

Bream Bay

25 November

"we caught between 90 and 100 Bream (a fish so called)"

35.94583°S 174.51667°E

It is thought these fish were snapper. In a jovial mood, he called the two headlands of the bay, Bream Head and Bream Tail[8]

Hen and Chicken Islands

25 November

A group of islands shaped like a hen and her chickens

35.93333°S 174.73333°E

Poor Knights

(Poor Knights Islands)

25 November

Possibly for a resemblance to a kind of dessert[9]

35.50000°S 174.75000°E

Cape Brett

(Cape Brett Peninsula /Rākaumangamanga)

27 November

After Peircy Brett

35.172889°S 174.331000°E

“At the very point of the Cape is a high round Hillock… with a hole pierced thro' it like the Arch of a Bridge, and this was one reason why I gave the Cape the above name, because Piercy seem'd very proper for that of the Island”

Point Pococke

(Cape Wiwiki)

27 November

35.15556°S 174.12333°E

Cavalle Isles

Cavalli Islands

27 November

After the cavally fish sold to the crew from a passing Māori waka

34.96667°S 173.96667°E

Bay of Islands

5 December

"on account of the Great Number which line its shores"

35.20000°S 174.16667°E

Whale Rock

(TeNunuhe Rock / Whale Rock)

5 December

A sunken rock hit by Endeavour with no perceptible damage

35.17500°S 174.26083°E

Doubtless Bay

9 December

"the wind not permitting us to look into this Bay"

34.92083°S 173.46528°E

Knockle Point

(Knuckle Point)

10 December

Juts out from a Doubtless Bay headland

34.84917°S 173.48250°E

Mount Camel

(Tohoraha / Mount Camel)

10 December

A large hill with a small dip in the top, standing upon a barren desert-like shore[10]

34.82056°S 173.15944°E

Sandy Bay

(Rangaunu Bay)

10 December

"nothing but white sand thrown up in low irregular hills"

34.80611°S 173.25944°E

From here Endeavour tacked out to the Three Kings Islands and back to Cape Maria van Dieman named by Abel Tasman

North Cape

19 December

Northernmost point of land on the whole coast

34.41528°S 173.05111°E

False Bay


8 January

"the appearance of a Bay or inlet, but I believe it is only low land"

35.5233000°S 173.3786000°E

Woody Head

10 January

Lushly wooded

37.86417°S 174.75667°E

Gannet Island

(Motutakupu Island / Gannet Island))

10 January

"on account of the Great Number of these Birds we saw upon it"

36.68444°S 175.37389°E

Albetross Point

(Albatross Point)

10 January

After the birdlife

38.10750°S 174.68417°E

Mount Egmont

(Mount Taranaki, or Mount Egmont)

13 January

After the Earl of Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty from 1763 to 1766

39.29611°S 174.06389°E

Today, the volcano has two official names

Cape Egmont

13 January

At the foot of Mount Egmont

39.27583°S 173.75333°E

Sugar Loaf Isles

(Sugar Loaf Islands / NgāMotu)

13 January

Sugar Loaf Point on the mainland "riseth to a good height in the very form of a Sugar Loaf"

39.04944°S 174.02778°E

Entry Isle

(Kapiti Island)

14 February

A high remarkable Island guarding the entrance to Cooks Strait

40.86667°S 174.90000°E

Queen Charlotte's Sound

(Queen Charlotte Sound Tōtaranui)

15 January

Queen Charlotte, the wife of the reigning British monarch

41.25000°S 174.0158833°E

Ship Cove

(Meretoto / Ship Cove)

16 January

Here the ship Endeavour was careened "(she being very foul)"

41.09306°S 174.23889°E

Cook returned here numerous times, using it as a base on his second and third voyages

Isle Hamote

(Long Island)

31 January

An island in the outer Queen Charlotte Sound

41.1137972°S 174.2845333°E

West Bay

(Endeavour Inlet)

A placeholder name until someone came up with a better one[11]

41.13028°S 174.17361°E

Cannibals Cove

(Cannibal Cove)

A bay, possibly called Anahou, was labelled by Cook and several others as "Canibals Cove" on their maps[12]

41.07917°S 174.25278°E

Motuouru Island

(Motuara Island)

31 January

An island in the outer Queen Charlotte Sound where there was a pa

41.08111°S 174.25611°E

After gaining permission from Topaa, an elder from the pa, Cook and his men erected a post on the highest part of the Island, and hoisted the British flag[4]

Eahei no Mauwe

(North Island or TeIka-a-Māui)

On 29 January, Cook climbed to "the Top of a pretty high hill" on Arapaoa Island, and later after consulting with Topaa,[4] he determined that the land he had seen to north...


(South Island or TeWaipounamu)

31 January

... and to the south (from where he had stood) was not part of a continent, but rather two islands separated by a strait

Cook's Strait

(Cook Strait)

"some of the Officers had just started, that AeheinoMouwe was not an Island… For my own part, I had seen so far into this Sea the first time I discover'd the Strait, together with many .other Concurrent testimonies of its being an Island, that no such supposition ever enter'd my thoughts; but being resolved to clear up every doubt that might Arise on so important an Object, I steer'd North-East" until all the officers were satisfied

41.22944°S 174.48306°E

While this name appears on Cook's chart, it is worth noting Cook is not known for naming places after himself, and it is speculated that Joseph Banks bestowed the name of the strait (or as Banks spells it in his diary "Cooks streights")[13][14]

Cape Teerawhitte

Cape Terawhiti

31 January

A cape to the east on the North Island side of Cook Strait

41.2843639°S 174.6132722°E

Some scholars have pointed out that Topaa may simply have pointed out "east" rather than a particular headland[15]

Cape Koamaroo

Cape Koamaru

7 February

Southeast head of Queen Charlotte Sound "called by the Natives, Koamaroo"

41.08833°S 174.38139°E

Similar to Cape Terawhiti, this name may have been misinterpreted

Cape Pallisser

(Cape Palliser)

7 February

After Hugh Palliser

41.61361°S 175.29028°E

Palliser was captain of HMS Eagle, Cook's first ship in the Royal Navy

Cloudy Bay

(Te Koko-o-Kupe / Cloudy Bay)

7 February

Weather cloudy

41.45000°S 174.16667°E

Cape Campbel

(Cape Campbell / Te Karaka)

8 February

John Campbell,[16] who introduced Cook to the Royal Society[6]

41.7372000°S 174.276000°E

Castle Point

11 February

A remarkable hillock

40.91139°S 176.21917°E


(Kaikoura Peninsula)

14 February

The occupants of four waka gazed in wonder, but could be tempted to paddle closer[17]

42.43167°S 173.71083°E

Flat Point

11 February

An unremarkable hillock

41.24556°S 175.96417°E

Gore's Bay

(Gore Bay, New Zealand)

16 February

Presumably to flatter Lieutenant Gore following a fruitless search for land that Gore saw, or thought he saw out to sea east of Banks Island. Cook was certain it was clouds[6]

42.85917°S 173.30917°E

Banks Island

(Banks Peninsula)

17 February

After Joseph Banks

43.75000°S 172.833000°E

Cook mistook Banks Peninsula for an island – one of his few mistakes[18]

Cape Saunders

25 February

Charles Saunders

45.8735472°S 170.7347056°E

South East Bay

(Foveaux Strait)

"we could not see this land join to that to the Northward of us, there either being a total separation, a deep Bay, or low land between them"

46.67000°S 168.18000°E

Along with Sout East Bay and Bench Island, Cook initially draw Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island/Rakiura on his chart; however, he later amended it to depict Steward Island as a peninsula, in accordance with instructions from the Admiralty to hide strategic off-shore islands from hostile powers

Bench Island

(Ruapuke Island)

6 March

"low land, making like an Island"

46.78333°S 168.50000°E

The Traps

(North Trap and South Trap)

9 March

Ledges of rock, that lie "such as to catch unwary Strangers", from which Endeavour had "a very fortunate Escape"

47.38333°S 167.85000°E

South Cape

(South Cape / Whiore)

10 March

Southernmost point of land on the whole coast

47.29250°S 167.54917°E

Solander's Isles

(Solander Islands / Hautere)

11 March

Daniel Solander

46.57250°S 166.89639°E

West Cape

14 March

Westernmost point of land upon the whole Coast

45.91000°S 166.43806°E

Dusky Bay

(Dusky Sound)

14 March

Cook wanted to go in but found the distance too great to run before dusk

45.76250°S 166.58361°E

Five Fingers Point

14 March

"5 high peaked rocks, standing up like the 4 fingers and thumb of a Man's hand"

45.74139°S 166.45472°E

Doubtful Harbour

(Doubtful Sound / Patea)

14 March

"it certainly would have been highly imprudent in me to have put into a place where we could not have got out"

45.26833°S 166.86667°E

"I mention this because there was some on board that wanted me to harbour at any rate, without in the least Considering either the present or future Consequences"

Mistaken Bay

(in vicinity of Big Bay)

16 March

"appearance of an inlet into the land; but upon a nearer approach found that it was only a deep Valley"

44.28639°S 168.06694°E

Cascades Point

(Cascade Point)

17 March

"deep Red Clifts, down which falls 4 Small streams of Water"

44.00861°S 168.36667°E

Open Bay

(Jackson Bay / Okahu)

17 March

43.98000°S 168.63194°E


(Southern Alps)

18 March

Cook did not sight (or name) Aoraki / Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand; however, he did describe the range of snow covered alps that runs down the island almost from one end to the other

Cape Foulwind

About 21 March

Foul gales for days on end

41.74528°S 171.46889°E

Rocks Point

23 March

Many dangerous rocks awash

40°51′00″S 172°08′00″E

Admiralty Bay

31 March

Seeking a promotion?

40.94083°S 173.87472°E

Stephens Island

(Stephens Island / Takapourewa)

31 March

Philip Stephens

40.67056°S 173.99833°E

Cape Stephens

31 March

Northernmost point of Rangitotokite Tonga / D'Urville Island

40.69222°S 173.96583°E

Blind Bay

(Golden Bay / Mohua and Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere)

31 March

A deep dead end bay

40.62083°S 172.93722°E

40.99889°S 173.46917°E

Now recognised as two bays divided by Separation Point / TeMatau

Cape Jackson

31 March

George Jackson

40.99389°S 174.31472°E


Name (and today's name)


Reason for naming



South Point

26 March

Point of land at the southern entrance to the fjord

45.81333°S 166.45506°E

Anchor Island

26 March

The first place the Resolution anchored

45.743808°S 166.508102°E

Pickersgill Harbour

27 March

A convenient Harbour discovered by Richard Pickersgill where the Resolution moored for after 122 days at sea in the Pacific and sub-Antarctic waters

45.79382°S 166.58060°E

Astronomer Point, where William Wales established an observatory, was named later on

Indian Cove (Cascade Cove)

2 April

After a Tamatea family who “seemed rather afraid when we approached the Rock with our Boat, he however stood firm”

45.80000°S 166.60000°E

Luncheon Cove

2 April

Ate their lunch

45.76667°S 166.52500°E

Supper Cove

2 April

Ate their dinner

45.70874°S 166.94876°E

Resolution Island

6 April

The ship that brought them there[24]

45.643148°S 166.584063°E

Duck Cove

6 April

“In this Cove we shott fourteen Ducks”

45.728053°S 166.605606°E

Indian Island

6 April

Cook befriended the indigenous people here[25]

45.77818°S 166.58723°E

Places named in vicinity of Anchor Island:

  • Shelter Cove

  • Seal Islands

  • Many Islands

  • No Mans Island

  • Stop Island

  • Thrum Cap

  • Passage Islands

  • Prove Island

  • Seal Rock

  • Anchor Point

  • Useless Island

  • Little Harbour and islands

  • Anchor Island and Harbour

  • Petrel Islands

12–17 Apr

Thrum caps are the unspun raw wool hats worn by sailors

Places named on western side of Resolution Island:

  • Fixed Head

  • The Bason

  • Earshell Cove

  • Boat Passage

  • Pigeon Island

  • Facile Harbour

  • Parrot Island

  • Cormorant Cove

  • Goose Cove

  • Shag River

12–17 Apr

Long Island

20 April

A very long island

45.765248°S 166.635904°E

Other places named in vicinity of Long Island:

  • Curlew Island

  • Small Creek

  • Narrow Creek

  • Detention Cove

  • West Point

  • Station Island

  • East Point

  • Front Islands

  • Cooper Island

  • Shag Islands

  • Sportsman Cove

  • Two Sisters

20 April

Cook Channel lies between Long Island the mainland, but needless to say Cook did not this after himself

Goose Cove

23 Apr

Released five geese they brought with them from Cape of Good Hope

45.68333°S 166.55000°E

Lake Forster

23 Apr

Georg Forster

45.80000°S 166.56667°E

Cook Stream runs from the lake into Pickersgill Harbour, but Cook did not name that after himself either

Passage (Acheron Passage)

5 May

45.65680°S 166.72465°E

Passage Point

5 May

45.72917°S 166.72917°E

Occasional Cove

6 May

45.61667°S 166.70556°E

Wet Jacket Arm

8 May

Richard Pickersgill coped a downpour[26]

45.66667°S 166.75000°E

Places named in inner Breaksea Sound / Puaitaha:

  • Sunday Cove

  • Harbour Island

  • Beach Harbour

  • First Cove

  • Second Cove

  • Third Cove

  • Apparent Island

  • Nobody knows what (Broughton Arm)

9 May

Sunday Cove was visited on a Sunday.

Apparently, Apparent Island was an apparition, because it does not exist.

Cook call Broughton Arm “Nobody knows what” because he did not have time to explore it. In 1791, George Vancouver did have time renamed it “Somebody knows what”[26]

Places named in outer Breaksea Sound / Puaitaha:

  • Entry Island

  • Gilbert Islands

  • Disappointment Cove

  • Woodhen Cove

  • Breaksea Island

11 May

Breaksea Island is so named because it protects the western entrance (now called Breaksea Sound / Puaitaha) from the violent and predominant southwest swell[26]

From here Resolution set sail for Queen Charlotte Sound


Cook250 by Cook 2020 sub committee2020 Proudly created with