Abel Tasman Memorial
Just past the gutted shell of the old cement
works at Tarakohe the road rises to
a hilltop carpark at the Abel Tasman Memorial and it is only a couple
of minutes walk to the tower and view-point. The marble plaque remembers
Abel Tasman, a Captain in the Dutch East India Company, and the
crews of his two small ships, who on the 18th December 1642 were
the first Europeans to enter and anchor in what is now GOLDEN BAY.
The visit ended in tragedy for the mariners. They had seen smoke
from fires on shore and at dusk lights had appeared; remaining at
anchor overnight, the Dutch saw eight well-manned canoes put out
towards their ships early the next morning and one of the small
jolly-boats plying between the ships was attacked. Four Dutch sailors
perished and the disillusioned Tasman raised anchor, never to set
foot in the place he bitterly named Murderers' Bay, or in the whole
unknown length of the country he named Staten Land.
Three hundred years to the day after this event,
Abel Tasman National Park was officially
opened, with the Queen of the Netherlands as Patroness. Strong links
with the Dutch community locally, and with the Dutch Royal Family
persist, with royal visits in 1973 and 1992 and several ambassadorial
visits over the years.
Some doubt remains as to exactly where Tasman
anchored. Some say it was off the Tata
Islands, which can be plainly seen a kilometre or so from the
Lookout. Careful study of Tasman's log puts the spot closer to Whariwharangi
Bay, the northernmost point in the National Park. Wherever the
place, the seemingly unimportant encounter (not left to us in legend
or story by the Maori and having
no apparent influence on Dutch exploration in the southern oceans)
has given GOLDEN BAY a major historical theme as well as the focal
point around which was built one of our most popular national parks.
Continue to read information about >>>> Ligar Bay and Tata Beach