This episode deals with Cook’s second voyage aboard the Resolution in search of the Great Southern Continent. He circumnavigates the Antarctic, without ever sighting land – an extraordinary achievement in a flimsy ship at such latitudes. During this feat he begins the painstaking process of filling in vast unknown areas on the Pacific map.
Sam visits New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Norfolk Island before completing one of Cook’s unfinished ambitions by touching down on Antarctica. For Sam this episode, in a much more intimate way, mirrors what many consider Cook’s greatest achievement, the breadth and extent of the second voyage. In Sam’s case, Antarctica is a first as is reaching the crater of a very active volcano, Mt Yasur. And significantly visiting Norfolk Island where standing in the ruins of its penal settlement Sam acknowledges an intersection of Pacific and Cook history with his own family in a startling revelation.
The Pacific In The Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill ep. 4
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.