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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.



It was in Gisborne that it was first made known in New Zealand that Cook's original choice of name for Poverty Bay was “Endeavour Bay.” Professor E. E. Morris (Melbourne), who visited Poverty Bay and Tolaga Bay early in 1901, returned home via Sydney, where he came across Cook's holograph notes in the Australian Museum. Writing to the Poverty Bay Herald (20/2/1901), he mentioned his discovery, adding:

page 45

“I found this out only a few days ago, and this is the first time I am publishing the fact.” Cook does not indicate in the journal which is in his own handwriting (and which is now in the National Library at Canberra) that, at first, he intended to bestow the name “Endeavour Bay” on Poverty Bay. Probably, this journal was compiled after his return to England.

Cook makes no reference to the health of his crew upon the arrival of the Endeavour at Poverty Bay. In the Canberra logbook, apart from the entry made at Cape Kidnappers mentioning that there were sick people on board, a Tolaga Bay entry says: “The Indians came aboard to trade; brought off fish enough for the officers and the sick.” When the ship had left the Society Group some months earlier, Cook found—vide Observations Made During a Voyage Round the World by Dr. J. R. Forster (London, 1778)—that half of his crew were infected with “V.D.” On account of the eagerness with which celery and scurvy grass were sought at Anaura and Tolaga Bay, it is not improbable that some of the sick had the incipient symptoms of scurvy.

Although Banks and Solander obtained only forty botanical specimens in Poverty Bay, they secured an additional 210 at Anaura and Tolaga Bay. In all, 360 specimens were taken away from New Zealand. Dr. L. Cockayne (New Zealand Plants and Their Story) identifies the celery which Cook found at Tolaga Bay as Apium prostratum and Apium filifolium and the scurvy grass as Lepidium oleraceum, the most famous plant of the Lepidium genus.