Unknown Shipwreck could rewrite New Zealand history
Last week, an 11-year-old boy stumbled upon an old bronze canon in Darwin, Australia that predates the arrival of the acclaimed Captain James Cook to the continent in 1770. Now, a new discovery has been made that also predates his arrival in New Zealand in 1769 – an unknown shipwreck that has been dated to 1705, plus or minus 9 years.
The ship, which is 27 metres in length, was discovered buried in sand in the Kaipara Harbour and has just been radiocarbon-dated and scrutinised by tree-ring experts, leading to the date of 1705. However, according to accepted history, no-one visited New Zealand between the first European contact in 1642, and James Cook’s arrival in 1769.
Every child in Australia and New Zealand learns about the ‘heroic efforts’ of Captain James Cook, the British explorer, navigator and captain who is credited with leading the way to British colonisation of the two countries, and who in many cases, is also credited with being the first foreigner to discover the two lands.
However, ask any Australian who Willem Janszoon is, and they will most likely respond with a blank look. In fact, he was a Dutch navigator who reached Australia 164 years before James Cook. Likewise, Abel Tasman is known to have explored New Zealand in 1642, more than a century before Cook.
Fighting over dates and who was the very first to discover the lands seems rather inconsequential when you consider that the Australia Aborigines inhabited Australia for at least 40,000 years before Cook’s arrival. But there is a bigger issue at stake here than just ‘who was the first?’. The point is that early discoveries of Australia and New Zealand were quietly scratched out of the school syllabus and many history books, as giving credit to the ‘colonisers’ was far more important. And this is a common pattern. We know for example, that Christopher Columbus was also not the first foreigner to step foot in the Americas.
What we learn at school and what is written in many history books is very often not produced with accuracy in mind, but rather has been written to serve a certain political agenda. The good news is that more and more people are catching on to the fraud and are no longer willing to have the shades pulled over their eyes.