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Cook's Sites

Friday, 1 November 2013 11:15am

Revisiting History

Mark Adams and Nicholas Thomas

The book

In 1773, Captain James Cook visited Dusky Sound in the far south of New Zealand. The voyage artist, William Hodges, produced remarkable paintings of the spectacular antipodean environment and of the Māori people who occupied it. The visit represents one of the beginnings of New Zealand's colonial history. How do we make sense of it today?

The authors of this book have revisited the sites of contact between Cook's crews in Dusky Sound and Queen Charlotte Sound. The photographs by Mark Adams and text by Nicholas Thomas examine the traces of the past in these places, opening up ambiguities, and avoiding easy judgements about these early meetings. They have also travelled to Europe, to see where botanical specimens, indigenous artifacts, and the voyagers' documents ended up. Cook's Sites is a revelation: of places of unique historical significance, and of the intriguing stories woven around them.

The authors

MARK ADAMS is one of New Zealand's most distinguished documentary photographers. His work on Samoan tattoing, Māori-Pakeha interactions around Rotorua, and historic sites around the South Island has been extensively exhibited within New Zealand, as well as in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Brazil. His previous publications include Land of Memories (1993).

NICHOLAS THOMAS is an anthropologist and historian. His influential books include Entangled Objects (1991), Colonialism's Culture (1994), and Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture (1999). He is Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Reviews

'Splendidly produced ... quirky ... thoughtful and elegant.' – Gavin McLean, Evening Post

'... pictures our most remote corners in a way they've never been seen ... fascinating and highly idiosyncratic.' – Michelle Hewitson, New Zealand Herald

'An exciting book, distinguished especially by the artistry and suggestiveness of its photographs, and the bracingly stimulating character of much of the text.' – Michael King, The Listener

Publication details

Paperback, 295 x 235 mm, 196 pp, b&w photographs, ISBN 1 877133 82 5, 49.95
1999
Out of print