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Te Ara o Kôpû - Transit of Venus

Te Ara o Kôpû - Transit of Venus

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  • Wed 18 Jul ’12, 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Thu 19 Jul ’12, 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Fri 20 Jul ’12, 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Sat 21 Jul ’12, 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Sun 22 Jul ’12, 1:30pm – 4:00pm
  • View all sessions


Tairawhiti Museum, Stout St, Gisborne


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

Cook’s observation of the Transit of Venus at Tahiti on June 3 1769 was deemed important because it would contribute to a more accurate calculation of the scale of the solar system. Included in the Transit of Venus exhibition is a Gregorian reflector telescope made by the Scottish instrument maker James Short (1710-1768). James Cook and his astronomer Charles Green used this type of James Short telescope to observe the Transit of Venus in Tahiti in 1769.

It was in his quest for Terra Australis that Cook located Aotearoa New Zealand, making his first landfall at Tûranganui (now known as Gisborne) on Sunday 8 October 1769. After two days of largely fraught encounters with the inhabitants of Tûranganui, during which a number of people were killed by members of Cook’s crew, the Endeavour sailed south to Hawke’s Bay and then north again, eventually anchoring off Anaura and Opoutama (Ûawa, Tolaga Bay).

The exhibition Te Ara o Kôpû - The Transit of Venus has been developed in partnership with Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti to celebrate the Transit of Venus and the encounter with James Cook, Joseph Banks, Tupaia and the others who arrived at Cook’s Cove on theEndeavour in 1769. The exhibition is arranged in five sections: Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti at Ûawa; Cook’s First Voyage into the Pacific; The Cook’s Cove Encounter; The Transit of Venus and Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti Towards the Future. Important treasures have been borrowed from Auckland Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa and the Carter Observatory for this exhibtion.

Exhibition guided tour: Victor Walker, David Butts and Dudley Meadows - 7pm Tuesday 12 June

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