In the footsteps of Kupe and Cook
A visit to Whitianga and the surrounding Mercury Bay settlements of Wharekaho, Ferry Landing, Shakespeare’s Cliff and Cooks Beach offer a unique opportunity to revisit the initial explorations of Kupe and Cook.
Mercury Bay is one of the few New Zealand places originally discovered by both Kupe and Captain James Cook. A stroll in Kupe and Cook’s footsteps reminds us that the landscape they encountered centuries ago remains recognisable today.
Mercury Bay holds a significant place in New Zealand’s history, where both European and Polynesian explorers first set foot. From Kupe’s legendary arrival around 950 AD through to Captain Cook’s discovery in 1769, this is an area resonant with parallel histories. It is a place where New Zealand’s European and Polynesian heritage intersect.
Centuries separated the explorers’ voyages, reflected in the area’s changing place names. Contemplate Kupe and Cook’s footsteps with a visit to Mercury Bay; Te Whitianga-Nui-a-Kupe; Te Whanganui-o-Hei.