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Cook's Pacific Encounters

Cook's Pacific Encounters showcased an extraordinary selection of Pacific islands artefacts which were taken back to England from Captain James Cook's three 18th-century voyages to the Pacific.

The exhibition contained over 350 Pacific artefacts from the Cook-Forster collection of the University of Göttingen's as well as historical objects and artworks relating to James Cook. The artefacts come from communities across the Pacific - from New Zealand, Tonga, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Hawai'i, Tierra del Fuego and the northern Pacific. They remain precious to Pacific peoples, with strong spiritual and cultural meaning for the communities from which they came.

View a selection of artefacts from the Cook's Pacific Encounters exhibition

View the Cook-Forster collection from the University of Göttingen online

On 28 July 2006 the Museum held a symposium to explore the significance of the Cook-Forster collection. Speakers at the symposium explored the history of the collection, its contemporary importance to the descendants of the objects' makers, and its impact on the fields of anthropology, art and museology.

audio_w15 Listen to the audio or read the transcripts from the Discovering Cook's Collections symposium

Cook's Pacific Encounters was on show at the National Museum of Australia from 1 July to 10 September 2006 in the Temporary Exhibition Gallery.

This exhibition was organised by the Honolulu Academy of Arts in association with the Institute of Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Göttingen, and Art Exhibitions Australia.


Logos for Art Exhibitions Australia, Singapore Airlines (Principal Sponsor), Art Indemnity Australia (An Australian Government Initiative), Prime