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Banks Peninsula

Events In History

16 February 1770

Lieutenant James Cook sighted Banks Peninsula from the Endeavour. The following day he decided it was an island, which he named for the expedition's botanist, Joseph Banks.

Mass of volcanic hills (1,165 sq km) jutting from the Canterbury coast between Pegasus Bay and the Canterbury Bight. The highest point, Mt Herbert (Te Ahu Patiki, 920 m), overlooks Lyttelton Harbour. It is less than half the height of the volcanoes before they became extinct. The hilly terrain, wetter climate and history of podocarp forest clearance make it more typical of parts of the North Island than of Canterbury. The hills are farmed, but tourism now has more economic importance. Cheese was one of the first products exported from Banks Peninsula (to Australia) and a small cheese factory remains at Barrys Bay. Akaroa is the principal town. Other small settlements are connected by steep, narrow roads.
Meaning of place name
Named after Sir Joseph Banks, the British naturalist who accompanied James Cook on hist first voyage of the Pacific in 1769-70. First called 'Banks Island' as it wasn't until 1780 that Captain Chase of the Pegasus proved that it was a peninsula.

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