In a bid to find the not yet existent North West passage Cook encountered vast ice ranges and saw the impact of colonisation first hand when entering part of Alaska already overtaken by the Russians. Forced back by the ice shelf Cook retreats to Hawaii for R&R before returning to the Arctic the following summer. But that was not to be. After nearly eleven years of voyaging from the Antarctic to the Arctic Circles trading, observing, befriending chiefs and villagers alike, even participating in local culture Cook is clubbed and stabbed and drowned in a quintessentially tropical paradise?
How did it come to this? Or as one of the people Sam meets says, ‘How did it not happen before?’ Back in Australia Sam views an unfinished tapa waistcoat abandoned by Elizabeth Cook after his death – a poignant memento. A larger than life stainless steel sculpture of the man by Micheal Parakowhai is the focus of Sam’s reflections on Cook. Finally on an uninhabited islet in mid- Pacific Sam concludes his journey from being a ‘mere actor’ when he set out to becoming ‘a man of the Pacific.’.
The Pacific In The Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill ep. 6
250 YEARS AFTER Captain James Cook began his epic exploration of the Pacific, Sam Neill journeys in the wake, uncovering stories that resonate from those times on both sides of the beach. Visiting the islands and lands where Cook went and meeting the descendants of the people Cook met, Sam hears their stories from oral tradition. What did Cook’s arrival mean to Pacific island cultures then and now?
Across six stunning episodes without a re-enactment or fake quill in sight, Sam takes an epic and thoroughly modern look at 250 years of Pacific history. Sam begins with a disclaimer – he is merely an actor – but the story of Cook, and the impact he has had on the Pacific in the 250 years since his first voyage, has always fascinated him.
“The Pacific made Cook and it killed him too… they are forever bound together. He stitched its islands, its continental borders and its indigenous peoples into the fabric of the global community we know today. Admire him or abhor him, James Cook cannot be banished from its history even now, as peoples of the modern Pacific, we make our own history,” Sam Neill said.