Unveiling of James Cook monument, 1913

Unveiling of James Cook monument, 1913

Cook monument

Click on thumbnail to see a larger version of this image

Robert McNab, historian and minister of lands in the Liberal government, was closely associated with the development of the Ship Cove monument in Queen Charlotte Sound. This is where James Cook spent the most time in New Zealand during his voyages.

An estimated crowd of 2000 attended the unveiling of the monument on 11 February 1913. It can still be seen on the Queen Charlotte Walkway. The reserve predates the Scenery Preservation Act, having been established in 1896. The area remains of interest to historians and anthropologists.

Images of the monument today:

James Cook monument James Cook monument James Cook monument James Cook monument

A plaque on the monument reads: 'To this Cove Captain Cook made five visits while navigating the globe. On this beach he erected tents for his invalided sailors and from this stream he watered his vessels'. Another lists his visits on the Endeavour: 1770 and the Resolution: 1773 (twice), 1774 and 1777.

Community contributions

4 comments have been posted about Unveiling of James Cook monument, 1913

What do you know?

John G. Hill

Posted: 27 Jul 2015

Hi Andrew Vincent
I hope somehow this catches up with you.
My father started his career as a cinematographer with your great uncle J.S. Vinsen. His name was Leighton (Lee) McLeod Hill. I'm wondering if you are able to provide any information about my father with regard to when he began working with your great uncle and where. As you are writing a biography of your great uncle, so I am writing a biography of my father. I have some information about their working relationship but there are gaps which need filling in.
Lee Hill was born in Carterton in 1907 but went to school in Dannevirke. I believe he left school aged around 15 and began work almost straight away as an assistant to your great uncle, so around 1921/22.
Any help you could provide would be much appreciated.
John G. Hill
[email protected]


Posted: 16 Nov 2011

Hi Andrew
Thanks for your post. The original image appears in the Appendicies to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1913, C6 - this should be held in most major NZ libraries
I've just rescanned it at a larger size, click on the thumbnail below the main image to see this.
When you zoom right in you can see the photographer - here is a detail of how he looks:

Regards, Jamie Mackay

Andrew Vinsen

Posted: 16 Nov 2011

My great uncle, J.S. (Vaney) Vinsen was sent from Wellington to film the unveiling of this monument. He was a photographer and cinematographer.
I'm currently researching a biography on him.
An article entry regarding this and the subsequent showing of the film at Kings Theatre in Wellington can be found here:
I'm wondering if it is possible to view the original photo?... to see if a cameraman is present.
Thank you for your help, it is much appreciated.
warm regards,
Andrew Vinsen

Liam Daly

Posted: 07 Apr 2011

The marble stone tablets on each of the four sides of the Cook Monument at Ship Cove were cut by my Grandfather a Wellington Monumental Mason: Walter James Helyer Tonks. The Ship Cove preservation society approached my Grandfather, who was a well known monumental mason and he cut the lettering on the marble stone tablets and beat the lead into the lettering as was the fashion in those days.