Abel Tasman History

Archaeological evidence suggests Maori occupation along the Abel Tasman coast for some 800 years, though Maori legend tells of an even longer occupation of the area.

Archaeological sites have unearthed middens, pits, terraces, defended sites (pa), gardens and stone working floors, each item telling its own fascinating story of the indigenous peoples.

In 1642, Abel Tasman of the Dutch East India Company, anchored off shore from the Abel Tasman coast. After an unpleasant incident with the locals in which three sailors were killed, Abel Tasman set sail and named the area “Moordenaers (Murderers) Bay”.

In 1770, Captain James Cook sighted the area through fog and called it “Blind Bay”.

Between 1854 and 1857, about 26 pioneering European families lived along the Abel Tasman coastline. The key activities for these families were farming, timber milling and ship-building.

With few roads leading to these settlements, the primary method of transport was via the sea. The sheltered waters of Tasman Bay became a hub-bub of schooners, cutters, brigs and barques.

By the 1930s, European settlers and builders had left this beautiful, but remote area, leaving only holidaymakers and fishermen.

In 1942 Abel Tasman National Park was founded, largely thanks to Perrine Moncrieff.

In 2008 an extra 7.9 kilometres squared, including the formerly private land known as Hadfields Clearing, were added to the park.

And recently in 2016 a give a little page was created by two NZ men to buy a 7 hectare section of the National Park from private ownership to be donated to New Zealand. Over 40,000 NZder’s donated $2.5m and then topped up another $500,000 by the NZ government to secure the land and prevent it being bought by rich overseas investors so all NZ could enjoy another pristine piece of NZ beach.