Voyages of Pacific Discovery


Kei muri i te awe kāpara, he tangata kē. Māna i Te Ao, he mā.
Mihi Whakatau and translation

Treasures from the University of Canterbury Library Collections: European exploration of the Pacific 1700-1840

This exhibition has been designed to showcase some of the fantastic materials relating to European exploration of the Pacific held in the University of Canterbury Library. The items selected for this exhibition are sourced primarily from the Macmillan Brown Library, one of six specialist libraries that make up UC Library.

The Macmillan Brown Library contains one of New Zealand’s foremost collections about Pacific exploration, colonisation and history. In addition to a research level collection of published works relating to Māori and the peoples of the Pacific, we are also the privileged guardians of rare books, archives, art, and photographs.

From among the many voyages of European exploration in the Pacific, we have selected three journeys, each of which captured a moment of particular importance in the history of the Pacific.

Our heartfelt thanks to the all the people who have made this possible.

The Voyages

Portrait of Captain Cook

The Resolution

Cook's third voyage to the Pacific on board the Resolution was the culmination of a brilliant career, which was to end most tragically on the shores of Hawaii in 1779.

Portrait of Jules Dumont d’Urville

The Astrolabe

The voyage of the Astrolabe under the skilful leadership of Captain Dumont d'Urville was arguably France's last and greatest scientific voyage of discovery by sail.

Portrait of Admiral Henry Wandesforde Comber by J. Bunker

The Herald

The voyage of the Herald came during the golden age of the British Empire, when it was at the height of its power and in command of the sea.

Books from the Macmillan Brown Collection

Our Collections

Many of our treasures have travelled over a thousand miles and through time to become part of our collections. The story of these original books and objects is another kind of Pacific journey.

  • Voyages of Pacific Discovery
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800, Christchurch
    New Zealand