There are plenty of famous places around the globe that have been named after earlier settlements.
A Little history
Before we get straight into how New Zealand came to be known, it’s good to understand a little bit about the history of this small Pacific nation.
Although New Zealand came to be under British colonial rule in the end – that’s why the official language of this lovely, isolated country is English, even though it’s as far from England as it’s possible to be – it was actually first set foot upon by the Dutch.
In particular, it was an intrepid explorer going by the name of Abel Tasman and his crew who arrived first at Golden Bay in the South Island in 1642. He didn’t hang about long though, due to an attack made by the local Maori. This is why the original name of Golden Bay was actually Murderer’s Bay – nice and pirates, but not too good for tourism.
Abel Janzoon Tasman
So who was this gentleman Abel Tasman? Well, apart from having a fantastic moustache, he was also a merchant, sailor and one of the most accomplished explorers of his day. As well as being the first European to set foot on New Zealand, he was also the first to reach Tasmania – historically called Van Diemen’s Land – and also to sight the Fijian islands.
Abel Janszoon Tasman| Archives New Zealand