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Captain Cook in Hawaii
Year of production - 2008
Duration - 5min 30sec
Tags - Captain Cook, artistic manipulation, colonisation, discovery, exploration, historical representations, icons, image and reality, national identity, see all tags
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Captain Cook in Hawaii is an excerpt from the 4 x one-hour series _Captain Cook – Obsession and Discovery, produced in 2007.
Captain James Cook FRS RN (October 27, 1728 – February 14, 1779) was an English explorer, navigator and cartographer. Cook made three epic voyages around the world.
Captain Cook – Obsession and Discovery is a Film Australia National Interest Program. A Cook Films, Ferns Productions, South Pacific Pictures and December Films production. Produced with the assistance of New Zealand On Air, the Canadian Television Fund and Film Victoria, in association with History Television, ZDF in co-operation with ARTE and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. An Australia – Canada Co-production.
How can a knowledge and understanding of the nature of history and the methods of historical inquiry be applied to the study of a thematic issue?
E5.5 evaluates the contribution of cultural groups, sites, and/or family to our shared heritage
E5.6 identifies, comprehends and evaluates historical sources and uses them appropriately in an historical inquiry
E5.8 locates, selects and organises relevant historical information from a number of sources, including ICT, to undertake historical inquiry
E5.9 uses historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts
E5.10 selects and uses appropriate oral, written and other forms, including ICT, to communicate effectively about the past for different audiences.
This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.
The story of Captain James Cook’s ill-fated final voyage to the Pacific is one of tragic cultural misunderstanding. As told through the journals of Lieutenant James King and Captain Cook in A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, printed in 1784, the explorers received a heroes’ welcome when Cook’s ship, Resolution, first landed in Hawaii’s Kealakekua Bay. The story of what unfolded over the next few weeks—as seen through the eyes of 18th century Englishmen—is revealed in numerous illustrations in the journals, including ‘A canoe of the Sandwich Islands, the rowers masked’, ‘A Masked Priest’ and ‘An offering before Capt. Cook in the Sandwich Islands’. But Cook’s welcome was short-lived once the islanders realised that the Resolution did not represent, as they first imagined, an earthly visitation of their god Orono—and this cost Cook his life in 1779.
- Why did Cook sail into Kealakekua Bay?
- With what event did his visit coincide?
- Why was that event important to the Hawaiians?
- What were the symbols associated with that event?
- How did Cook’s ship, and then Cook himself, seem to reflect or be consistent with the event?
- How did each side not have a cultural awareness of each other?
- How would that contribute to tension and conflict?
- Summarise in just one or two sentences why these journals and illustrations are ‘treasures’ in our knowledge and understanding of aspects of Australian history.
Students should also view the episode of National Treasures entitled “Captain Cook’s Tragic Death” to analyse the conclusion to this fateful encounter.