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Russia - New Zealand History

Russian knowledge of New Zealand and the Maori dates from the late seventeenth century. New Zealand was the first region of Polynesia of which the Russians had authoritative data, all collected from the Dutch. The Dutch material was complemented in the later eighteenth century by primary accounts of Captain James Cook's several visits to that country and his lengthy stays within Queen Charlotte Sound.
In 1808 and 1814, the first Russian encounters with the Maori took place at Cape Town and Sydney. Though the officers of the Diana and Suvorov found the Maoris from the Bay of Islands (Matara, Ruatara, Hongi Hika, and others) intellectually quick and very friendly, they could not think of them other than as recent and potential cannibals.
The reports of Cook and his associates, published in German, French, and Russian, reinforced this association. Nonetheless, a Russian expedition led by Captain F.F. Bellingshausen paid a visit to Queen Charlotte Sound in 1820, using Cook's charts and accounts. It proved to be most important from the standpoint of ethnology, and was useful for the visitors as well, who were amply supplied with food. Glynn Barratt, Russia and the South Pacific, 1696-1840, Volume 2, University of British Columbia Press, 1988

Stuart Prior, Honorary Consul for Belarus in New Zealand

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