Fiordland's History


This area was well known to the Maori and many legends pertain to its formation and naming.

The Demi-god Tu-te-raki-whanoa is said to have carved out the fiords with his adze Te Hamo. No other explanation can seem to fit.

It is impossible to imagine the sheer breadth of geological events that created this seemingly perfect sculpture. Few Maori were permanent residents of the region, but seasonal food-gathering camps were linked by well-worn trails. Takiwai, a translucent greenstone or New Zealand jade, was sought from Anita Bay and elsewhere near the mouth of Milford Sound. Captain Cook and his crew were the first Europeans to visit Fiordland, and in 1773 spent five weeks in Dusky Sound. Cook's maps and descriptions soon attracted sealers and whalers who formed the first European settlements of New Zealand. From the middle of the 19th century, surveyors, explorers and prospectors began to penetrate the unexplored interior of Fiordland.