National Geographic : 1952 Apr
Mount Cook, Crown of New Zealand's Alps, Soars 12,349 Snow-clad Feet Maoris called the peak Aorangi, the Cloud Piercer; British settlers changed its name to honor Capt. James Cook (page 449). Though the Netherlands' Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand in 1642, Cook in 1769 was the first European to set foot ashore, and his explorations put the country on the map (opposite page). In a lavish exhibition, Nature, everywhere spendthrift in New Zealand, shaped this land of surprise. Snows lie deep on alpine heights; sun bakes subtropical beaches. Between these extremes squeeze glaciers, fiords, and volcanoes, fish-filled lakes, waterfalls and geysers, frigid rivers and boiling mud pots. The sea, never far away, crashes wildly on coasts like Maine's and Florida's. From Autumn to Spring in 30 Hours "Last, loneliest, loveliest, exquisite, apart" -Rudyard Kipling's description of Auck land, the largest city, aptly fits the whole country. For that island Eden on the other side of the globe I took off from America one autumn morning. Thirty flying hours later I reached my destination in its freshest stage of spring. In this out-of-the-way corner of the South Pacific, Great Britain a century ago settled her remotest colony. Twelve hundred miles separate it from Australia, the nearest conti nent. Home of brown man and white, New Zea land still glistens with the rough-hewn beauty of a diamond. Fewer than two million in habitants occupy three main islands-North, South, and Stewart. Dominion authority, however, extends over a fleet of islands rang ing from just under the Equator to South Polar regions (map, page 423).