The discovery by Sam Tobin in 2004 of a European woman’s skull, subsequently radiocarbon dated at 300 years old, on the banks of the Ruamahanga River in South East Featherston in the lower North Island of New Zealand, raises the question of the possibility of a European presence (if not settlement) in Aotearoa before Cook during the European enlightenment era. This paper will explore the options the researcher has for recoinstructing her possible origins as European woman and shipwreck survivor – Pākehā, a manuhiri (guest, visitor) and tangata kē (stranger) in the Maori Tangata Whenua society she encountered, what life may have been like for her under proto-cross-cultural conditions during the mid-eighteenth century, and assesses the likely impact her presence may have on the historical narrative of European discovery of New Zealand.
|Keywords:||New Zealand, Te Ao Maori, Ruamahanga, Female Castaway, Aotearoa, Captain Cook|
Senior Lecturer in Humanities, School of Information and Social Sciences, TOPNZ, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand
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