Pacific Explorers: Cook, Tasman and Kupe, - A Collection of Interactive Exhibits

This is the outline of an array of interactive exhibits designed to complement and enliven museum exhibitions that commemorate the 250th centenary of Captain Cook’s journey of discovery to New Zealand/Aotearoa and the East Coast of Australia. These interactive exhibits place Cook’s Endeavour voyage alongside earlier voyages of discovery by Kupe, the pre-eminent Polynesian navigator, and Abel Tasman of the Dutch East India Company. By participating in activities and/or games visitors gain hands-on experience of Polynesian and European navigation methods, the reasons behind the journeys, the difficulties of exploring the vast unknown Pacific Ocean, and the tribulations of early communication between Polynesians and Europeans.

These interactives give a big history view of the discovery of the South Pacific incorporating the sciences; navigation, astronomy, global weather patterns and botany, and contextual social history; Polynesian migration, The Dutch East India Company, Enlightenment Science, and early contact between European and Polynesian cultures.

The first part consists of constructing a globe to understand the Cartesian European navigational system. Incidents from the journeys of Tasman and Cook are then be placed on the globe to teach the history and geography of their journeys. The second component is an interactive that demonstrates the Polynesian Star Path system of navigation. The third part consists of board games that involve navigating and trading across the Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans. The same board can be used to play games about Polynesians and Kupe, the Dutch East India Co and Tasman, and Cook and Banks’ travels and cultural exchanges across Polynesia.

The materials and methods of construction described below are sustainable and low cost. Construction details and files for generating these exhibits using new materials and professional commercial printing and laser cutting services will also be provided. This allows you to select the level of production according to your resources and the expected use of the exhibit.

 

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1. Globe Building Activity: European Navigation

This is an activity in which participants learn about European navigational parameters, and the journeys of Tasman and Cook, whilst building a globe.

 

Step 1. The Framework: Meridians & Latitude

 Meridians and Latitude will form the structural framework of the globe.  Participants will learn the most important navigational datum’s (The Equator, the Greenwhich Meridian and it’s antipode, and 45 degrees East and West)  and that latitude consists of even slices of the globe.

Step 2. Gores: Longitude & Greenwhich Mean Time

The longitudinal gores will then be individually placed on the globe. Participants will learn that longitude is like slices of an orange, getting smaller towards the poles, and that every 15° around the globe represents 1 hour from Greenwhich. They will also learn a bit of geography, as they figure out which order to place the gores in.

 

Step 3. Grid References: Cook’s and Tasman's Voyages

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Participants will then be given illustrated cards, which show incidents from the voyages, giving the date and a grid reference, and the place name. They can then place these cards in the correct place on the globe. For younger participants the locality and country can be written on these cards. When they are all placed they can then link the dates in sequence with coloured string to find Cook’s 3 voyages.

 

Step 4. Scaling: The Transit of Venus (Captain Cook only)

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An additional activity involves marking out 1 astronomical unit (au) in the scale of the globe, on a local map. For example, if you use 630mm bicycle rims for your globe, then 1au is 7.4km away from your museum. The purpose of observing the transit of Venus, was to establish the length of 1 au, which is the distance between the Earth and the sun. This was the first astronomical length to be established, so it was then used to establish the distances between other celestial bodies.

 

 

 

 

2. Polynesian Navigation Interactive

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Polynesians developed a system of navigation that allowed them to accurately find tiny islands in a vast open sea at a time when Europeans were still hugging the coast. The basis of this system depended on a detailed memorisation of star paths, and a continual mental updating of position. Many other acute observations about the environment then augmented this. It is very hard for most people to form a picture of how a Polynesian navigator related his changing position to the changing night sky.  This interactive shows the waka on the flat sea with the star paths arching overhead. As the waka moves south the southern star orbits rise, while the northern stars disappear below the horizon. The star paths rise from East to West throughout the night. Playing with this interactive allows the vistor to understand the relationship between latitude and star elevation, as well as the movement of star paths across the sky during the night.

 

 

 

 

3. “Master Navigator” Games

A series of “Master Navigator” board and card games simulate the conditions of maritime exploration experienced by Kupe, Tasman and Cook. By playing a series of games along the historical routes of these explorers, visitors come to appreciate the parameters of navigating across vast areas of uncharted ocean: The interweaving challenges of; prevailing winds and currents, dwindling supplies, and trading with local inhabitants. Players learn the advantages and disadvantages of sailing different routes: becalmed in the doldrums, fast in the roaring forties, impossible to sail against the prevailing wind. On Cook’s Endeavour voyage they discover transgressions and reconciliations of early Polynesian-European relationships. In the Dutch East India Co game, the profitability of trading from one country to the next must be balanced with the length of time spent at sea. On Polynesian voyages route instructions must be memorised, and course adjustments may be needed.

The games are played by moving a ship or waka across a “base map” of hexagonal tiles. The aim of each game is to arrive at the given destination the fastest, with the least loss of life, and/or with the most items traded or collected.

Each tile has a wind speed and direction which determines the distance and direction that the players can move for each turn. Wind direction, sea currents, land areas and items of trade or revictualling are shown on the base map. A separate cardboard frame defining the game area for each explorer is then placed over the base map. The area within the frame is then covered with tiles that correspond to the colours for each band of wind. The player is faced with a vast area of blue. They uncover parts of Oceania and the Pacific as they play: With each turn they remove the top tile to reveal the land or sea on the base map.

 Base Map for Master Navigator games. The different bands of sea colour correspond to areas of wind patterns, from south to north as follows: the furious fifties (pale blue), the roaring forties (turquoise), SE trade winds (blue), doldrums (dark blue), NE trade winds (blue), Westerlies (turquoise).

Base Map for Master Navigator games. The different bands of sea colour correspond to areas of wind patterns, from south to north as follows: the furious fifties (pale blue), the roaring forties (turquoise), SE trade winds (blue), doldrums (dark blue), NE trade winds (blue), Westerlies (turquoise).

 The underside of some tiles that are placed over the base map. The 50kph tile is from the  roaring forties  wind area; it allows the player to move 5 tiles across the board in one turn. The next 2 tiles; dismasted!” and “shipwrecked”! are from the  furious fifties:  they cause the player to return to the nearest port, or start again, respectively .  The next 2; “becalmed” and “squall” are from  the doldrums : these require the player to miss a turn.Doldrum, SE trade, Roaring forties, & Furious fifties tiles   

The underside of some tiles that are placed over the base map. The 50kph tile is from the roaring forties wind area; it allows the player to move 5 tiles across the board in one turn. The next 2 tiles; dismasted!” and “shipwrecked”! are from the furious fifties: they cause the player to return to the nearest port, or start again, respectively. The next 2; “becalmed” and “squall” are from the doldrums: these require the player to miss a turn.Doldrum, SE trade, Roaring forties, & Furious fifties tiles

 

The underside of each tile gives a windspeed that determines how many tiles the player can move for that turn. This reflects the prevailing weather in each area. E.g. If they are in the Roaring Forties they can move 4 or 5 tiles to the west, whereas in the Doldrums they are frequently becalmed and so miss a turn.

 The prevailing weather helps explain why the journeys of discovery took certain routes. E.g. Abel Tasman circumnavigated Australia to discover New Zealand from due west, because it was easier to sail with the westerly wind around the south of Australia, than to sail against the prevailing SE trade wind through Torres Strait or past the Solomon Islands.

 Green “ship board” for the player with the green ship token for the Dutch East India Co game. The rows of sailors and trade items above the board are cut out to make cards, which are taken on and off the ship as the game is played.

Green “ship board” for the player with the green ship token for the Dutch East India Co game. The rows of sailors and trade items above the board are cut out to make cards, which are taken on and off the ship as the game is played.

At each anchorage or port, players can trade for items, or resupply their vessels for further voyaging. For the European ships, players will have a board, onto which they place cards showing sailors, provisions and items for trade or collection. After 6 turns without fresh supplies 2 sailors per turn will be lost to scurvy.

 Cards for the Captain Cook game. 

Cards for the Captain Cook game. 

Master Navigator: Captain Cook

The Cook game will focus on the Endeavour’s journey from Cape Horn to the Cape of Good Hope, via Tahiti, Aotearoa, the East Coast of Australia and Batavia (Jakarta). Whilst Cook, like Tasman and Kupe, was looking for new land and resources, his expedition also had scientific objectives including gathering of flora, fauna, ethnographic and navigational data, and establishing a cure for scurvy. At each anchorage there will be instructions for proceeding to the next anchorage. The ship must be provisioned with a specified number of “fresh food” and “water” cards before it can sail, and in Tahiti a “Transit of Venus” card and a “Tupaia” card must be picked up before proceeding to Aotearoa. There will also be some black “cultural transgression” cards which prevent trading until a "friendship" card is drawn or gifts are given. All cards will have a short text on their reverse sides explaining their historical basis: the transgressions, reconciliations and needs of both cultures.  At Batavia, “bad water” and “malaria” cards lead to the loss of sailors. At each anchorage “flora” cards can be collected. The winner will be the player to arrive at the Cape of Good Hope with the most crew members, and flora cards.

 

 Dutch East India Co routes from Amsterdam to Batavia.

Dutch East India Co routes from Amsterdam to Batavia.

Master Navigator: Abel Tasman & The Dutch East India Co.

Abel Tasman found Aotearoa whilst searching for profitable goods for the Dutch East India Co. The Abel Tasman component includes 2 games: The first encompasses trading along the main Dutch East India Co routes east of Cape Town whilst the second is about the voyage on which Tasman discovered New Zealand.

The aim of the Dutch East India Co game is to make a profit. The winners are the ship to reach Batavia, within a given number of turns, with the greatest wealth in trade items. Players will find the early Dutch East India Co route around the east of Africa through the doldrums to be slow, with much loss of life due to scurvy, whilst the later Brouwer route through the roaring forties is much faster.

 This detail image from the Dutch East India Co Game shows the value of trade goods in the ports of Gangzhou, China and Nagasaki, Japan

This detail image from the Dutch East India Co Game shows the value of trade goods in the ports of Gangzhou, China and Nagasaki, Japan

Players will start the game with pieces of silver, for buying trade items and spare ship sails and masts. Spare parts can be used to save returning to port for repairs. The differing cost of trade items between each country will allow players to make a profit. E.g. A 400% profit can be made between India and Japan as follows; in India, silk is worth 1 and can be purchased with 1 silver. In China silk is worth 2 and porcelain is worth 1, so 1 silk can purchase 2 porcelain cards. In Japan porcelain is worth 2 whilst silver is worth ½, so 1 porcelain can purchase 4 silver.

 Enemy ships tiles can also be encountered. If your ship has more sailors, you can plunder their silver, but if you have less sailors (due to scurvy), then they get to keep your silver. Dutch East India Co ships made a 300 percent profit selling spices from The Dutch East Indies in Europe.

     

     

     This image shows a player’s route from Batavia via Mauritius around Australia to New Zealand and back to Batavia. This player gains 6 points for discovering the anchorages of Tasmania, and central New Zealand, and 12 points for finding other islands or coastlines. This player missed 3 points by not finding the anchorage of Tonga. Their journey took 29 turns, including 2 turns for each tile in the doldrums.

    This image shows a player’s route from Batavia via Mauritius around Australia to New Zealand and back to Batavia. This player gains 6 points for discovering the anchorages of Tasmania, and central New Zealand, and 12 points for finding other islands or coastlines. This player missed 3 points by not finding the anchorage of Tonga. Their journey took 29 turns, including 2 turns for each tile in the doldrums.

    The second game is about Tasman’s circumnavigation of Australia from Batavia, via Mauritius, with the discovery of NZ on the way. The winners are the ship to return to Batavia with the least number of turns, with and the greatest amount of coastline discovered. If a player ends up in the middle of the land they are shipwrecked, so they must start again!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Master Navigator: Kupe

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     For the Kupe game a star compass will be placed over the base map: a circle with the setting and rising of constellations marked on the perimeter. (This is the same as the star elevation circle in the interactive.)  Players then navigate from Hawaii, Rapanui (Easter Island) or Samoa, via Rarotonga (Cook Islands) and Raoul Island to Aotearoa. Players will be given a set of instructions about which stars to follow from one island group to the next, which they will then have to commit to memory by making up a story or song, and/or arranging sticks and stones. (No pens and paper or electronic aids allowed). Equatorial currents can push them off course (Hawaii to Tahiti), and seasonal changes of wind direction may speed their passage (Samoa to Tahiti). Cloud may obscure the stars, so players will have to keep course by maintaining the angle of their waka to the swell. Signs such as birds, seaweed and phosphorescence point towards land. Polynesians did not get scurvy as they took coconuts, ate raw fish, and did not spend as long at sea. However, the waka will need to replenish their water frequently, so they will lose sailors if they miss small islands along their path. Polynesians most likely came to Aotearoa in search of new land and resources, so the winner will be the first to get to Aotearoa, with penalties for losing crew, and extra points for finding signs that indicate land.

     

    Different age groups

    The games and activities can be played at different levels of difficulty for different age groups. Younger age groups could be helped to build the globe and to locate the incidents from the Master Navigator’s journey’s. To play the board-games younger players can make the journeys with the tiles visible, the routes already mapped out, and without trading. Very young players may simply enjoy placing the correct coloured tiles in each wind area or pushing their ship along a marked route.

     

    Learning outcomes

    These activities and games will encompass broad areas of knowledge. There will also be additional material provided for display and/or educational purposes from the research done for these activities. These will include references to source material. Topics may include:

    • History: The Dutch East India Co and world trade, Abel Tasman’s discovery of New Zealand, the history of finding longitude at sea, the history of scurvy, Polynesian migration, Cook’s Journeys and early Polynesian-European relationships.
    • Maths: the western navigational datums (angles, circles and spheres, time and distance), the transit of Venus (triangulation), trading ratios, and scaling.
    •  Science: navigation, global weather patterns, the Beaufort scale, Banks’s botany collection, Enlightenment Science, the medical history and symptoms of scurvy.
    •  Geography:  Trade routes, the location of countries and islands in and surrounding the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans, longitude and latitude, map projections.

     

    Provisional Cost

    Discover Aotearoa will be sold as a set of digital files including graphics, construction drawings, and game instructions that can be used to fabricate and utilise the components. Its components can be bought individually or as a set.

    The cost of materials for construction is likely to be under $500 if made by hand using recycled materials and in-house computer printers, or about $5000 if made by professional fabricators, printers, and laser cutters.

    Digital files will be supplied at two different levels: those for hand-making and cutting and computer printing the components being less than files for laser-cutting and professional printing and fabrication. You can choose components according to your interests. A science museum may like to choose 1 & 2 (Globe building & Polynesian navigation), a social history museum may like to choose 3, 3.1, 3.2 & 3.2 to play games about Kupe, Tasman, and Cook, and a Wananga may wish to choose 2, 3, and 3.3 to focus on Polynesian navigation.

    Provisional costs for digital files of the components are as follows:

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    Conditions of Use: Copyright, License and Updates

    The copyright and intellectual property for all files and information for Pacific Explorers will remain the property of Intouch Design Ltd. Buyers will be purchasing a licence to make and use one copy for one year. For the following 2 years, license holders must pay an annual renewal fee, at 15% of the initial purchase price. All current license holders will receive updated files, which may be made periodically in response to user feedback.

     Contact

    For more information, please contact: juliet@intouchdesign.co.nz