Cook’s Error Corrected – October 1809

In October 1809, ‘The Pegasus ‘, a ship that some say was surveying whereas others say it was sealing, sailed along the east coast of the South Island and attempted to sail between Banks Island (named after the Endeavour’s botanist Joseph Banks in 1770) and the mainland, as it was shown in Captain Cook’s map. They soon realised that Banks Island was indeed a peninsula.

This visit by Captain Samuel Chase and his crew not only offered the opportunity to correct Cook’s mistake (or was it?) but their naming of Pegasus Bay – the stretch of shore from Sumner to the Waipara river mouth – has survived the test of time and is known by this name today.

Another name that acknowledges their visit in 1809 is Stewart’s Island, named after The Pegasus’ first mate, William Stewart.

*Image courtesy of the Canterbury Public Library – – ATL maps ATL-Acc-6638

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