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First Encounter visitors coming from Tasman’s place:

Rob Zagmaan (Netherlands Ambassador to New Zealand) visited the Abel Tasman Museum in Lutjegast in July, and has sent this photo of the occasion. The museum was opened in 2014.

Rob is pictured here (centre, yellow tie) with a group including Grootegast Mayor Ard van der Tuuk (next to Rob) and Joost Tanasale 3rd from left). Mayor Ard and Joost are part of the 5-person delegation coming to Golden Bay/Mohua for the First Encounter 375 commemoration. We look forward to meeting them when they arrive on 16 December.

Lutjegast (Tasman’s birthplace) is within the municipality of Grootegast, which has a friendly town relationship with Tasman District Council, and Kingston, Tasmania.

First Encounter 375: The voyage begins

Today (14 August 2017) is the 375th anniversary of the day the Heemskerck & Zeehaen sailed from Batavia (now Jakarta) to begin their search for the Great South Land and its untold riches. As we know, his main discoveries were what became known as Tasmania, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji and their peoples.

Below is a preliminary notice of this year’s events marking the actual anniversary (18/19 December) of the first encounter between Tasman’s crew and Maori resident in Golden Bay/Mohua. We are also marking the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Abel Tasman National Park in 1942 (300th anniversary).

More information on these events will follow as funding and other details are confirmed. Please contact us on if you would like to go on our mailing list.



News from Tasmania:

The 375th anniversary commemoration will be marked in Tasmania on Sunday 3 December with a trip to Tasman Bay and a community lunch at the Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed. For more information contact Tom Dunbabin (
The site where Tasman’s ship’s carpenter Pieter Jacobsz swam ashore and planted the VOC flag on that day in December 1642 (and claiming possession) is now on private farmland, but regular trips are held to the site of a 1923 memorial (pictured). The strong Dutch community and a Dutch Consul in Hobart ensure history is remembered, and this year the Tasmanian government is also involved.
We will be keeping in touch with Tom about their events–and they with us about ours. It’s a shared story of discovery.



“Te Owha” (Precious Bequest) Bush, Birds, Beaches–Abel Tasman National Park

@Artbank, 57 Commercial Street, Takaka, during July 2017.

Acknowledging First Encounter 375 (1642-2017)


Music history: Thinking about Abel Tasman’s contribution
No automatic alt text available.Dr Philip Norman is writing a history of New Zealand composers. He recently identified a few major features.
First there’s our distinctive birdsong … and then there are the musical sounds of early Maori in Golden Bay/Mohua. Tasman was the first to describe our indigenous music, in December 1642.

Dr Norman comments:
“Abel Tasman, in the diaries of that time, said they heard some chanting on shore and what sounded like trumpets. They assumed the Maoris were giving them a welcoming concert. So they started singing a few bawdy Dutch sailors songs and tooted their trumpet, but what the Dutch were hearing was the Maori haka and the trumpet sound was probably the war trumpet calling all the tribes around.
“The next morning, all was revealed that it wasn’t a concert, but a challenge. To me, that is a prime example of music not being a universal language.”

Image is of a putatara (conch trumpet) in the collection of Te Papa. The putatara is the centre feature of our FE375 logo.


Whakamaharatanga toru rau ma whitu tekau ma rima — Commemoration 375

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