A magnificent and imposing statue of James Cook, the Captain of British Royal Navy who dominates the story of the European discovery of New Zealand, stands tall at Victoria square. Though NZ was first sighted by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, it was Captain Cook who mapped the country, marking its effective discovery. The statue, cut out of a giant piece of marble, depicts a middle-aged Cook in naval attire and was built to commemorate the three journeys of James Cook to New Zealand.
The Cook Statue has two bronze plaques. One of the plaques lists Cook's journeys -
“James Cook, Captain, Royal Navy, circumnavigator who first hoisted the British flag in New Zealand and explored her seas and coasts, 1769–70, 1773–4, 1777”
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