Tupaia was the brilliant Polynesian navigator and translator who sailed with Captain James Cook from Tahiti, piloted the "Endeavour" across the South Pacific, and interceded on behalf of the European voyagers with the warrior Maori of New Zealand. As a man of high social ranking, Tupaia was also invaluable as an intermediary, interpreting local rituals and ceremonies. Joseph Banks, the botanist with Cook's expedition, is famous for describing the manners and customs of the Polynesian people in detail. Much of the credit for this information rightfully belongs to Tupaia-indeed, he could aptly be called the Pacific's first anthropologist.
Despite all this, Tupaia's colorful tale has never been part of the popular Captain Cook legend. This unique book tells the first-contact story with Europeans as seen through the eyes of the Polynesians, and documents how Tupaia's contributions changed the history of the Pacific.
Author: Joan Druett
Title: Tupaia: Captain Cook's Polynesian Navigator
First Published by: Praeger Publishers
Date: 18 November 2010