Captain Cook (1728 - 1779)
Where can I find information about Captain Cook?
Entry last updated: 11/04/22
Captain James Cook was a British sea captain, navigator and explorer. He spent many years sailing around and mapping the South Pacific. He visited New Zealand three times, the first was in 1769 on HMS Endeavour. On each voyage, he and his colleagues recorded information about the coastline, geography, Māori, flora (plants) and fauna (animals) of Aotearoa. Cook was the first European to map the coasts of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The websites below will help you understand more about Captain James Cook, his early life, his voyages, and what he achieved.
Britannica is one of the EPIC databases, a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together, especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.
- Enter the search words 'Captain James Cook' into the search box.
- Select James Cook ((1729–1779) English navigator and explorer) to read his biography or select to read any of the other links to read about his voyages to the Pacific.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.
This database from EPIC is the online version of New Zealand Geographic magazine. It has lots of articles, images and videos for students.
- Enter the keywords 'James Cook' into the search bar.
- Read the articles about Tupaia and Joseph Banks who voyaged to Aotearoa New Zealand with Cook on the Endeavour.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg James Cook. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.
This website was put together by people interested in the history of Captain Cook, his voyages and his achievements. There are lots of links to explore.
- Visit Biography to find notable dates in James Cook's life.
- Go to Cook's Ships to find the names of all the ships he was captain of or sailed on.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are. In this case the reason for creating this website is on the home page.
New Zealand websites
These websites will lead you to information about Captain Cook's voyages to Aotearoa New Zealand, his interaction with Māori and what he achieved.
Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.
- Enter 'Captain Cook' into the search bar and look for the article about the European Discovery of New Zealand.
- Select the entries about Captain Cook.
- You will also find on the results page a link to the biography of James Cook.
Tips: Remember to explore the search results on the left of the page to find stories, images and media. These will help expand your information on this topic.
NZHistory is another great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. This website also belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.
- Use the keywords 'Captain Cook' in the search bar.
- Read James Cook for a short biography.
- Or read First beer brewed in New Zealand — when Cook made a batch of beer using rimu branches and leaves to cure scurvy his crew was infected with.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.
DigitalNZ is a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites like libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once.
- The search words 'James Cook' will bring up lots of images, videos, audio, articles and more.
- Take a look at the video Captain's Log, or listen to the audio First map: How James Cook chartered New Zealand.
- Search Articles for newspaper reports over time about James Cook and his voyages to Aotearoa.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.
Your school and public library will have lots of books on James Cook. Here are some to help you begin your search:
- This is Captain Cook by Tania McCartney
- Captain Cook by Jim Ollhoff
- Captain Cook: Sailing off the Map by Craig Scutt
- Meet ... Captain Cook by Rae Murdie.
SCIS no: 1896609
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