Pūtahitanga A meeting of two worlds in the North, 1769-1842

The arrival of Captain James Cook in New Zealand in 1769 is usually seen as the first meeting of two worlds – the Māori and the European – leading to increasing interaction, cross-cultural movement and exchange.

This exhibition reveals some of those interactions between Māori and European explorers, sealers and whalers, missionaries, traders and settlers in the documents and books produced at the time and held in Sir George Grey Special Collections.

The word Pūtahitanga means a confluence of streams and expresses the fluidity of this period. We end the exhibition in 1842, two years after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed and the capital moved to the new settlement of Auckland, and three years before the first major conflict erupted in 1845.

The exhibition features Ko te katekihama III - the first item ever printed in New Zealand - a very modest production by the missionary William Yate, printed in Kerikeri in 1830. Only two known copies survive now. The text is a Māori translation of the catechism, a summary of the Christian doctrine.