In 1992, in the Millbrook Reserve on Carlton Mill Road, the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Dutch explorer (and first European in New Zealand waters), Abel Janszoon Tasman was acknowledged. His first view of New Zealand was its west coast. He named his discovery ‘Staten Landt’, believing that the land was attached to South America!
The plaque is a ‘thank you’ to the people of Christchurch who welcomed the first of the Dutch immigrants to our community so warmly.
Interestingly, the engraving on this plaque shows Maori Wakas’ around Abel’s two ships – ‘Zeehaen’ and ‘Heemskerick’ in an area we now call Golden Bay – this encounter resulted in the killing of four of Abel’s men. As several Maori also lost their lives, Abel called the area Murderer’s Bay. So, the first encounter between New Zealanders and the Dutch didn’t go too smoothly.
For a more in depth look at Abel Tasman, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/
* Image courtesy of Annette Bulovic*