Dating of wreck suggests visitors pre-dated Cook

Radio carbon dating of wood reveals New Zealand's oldest shipwreck

By Annette Lambly - The Northern Advocate

While speculation may still remain as to the identity of a shipwreck found 30 years ago by locals at Pouto Point, near Dargaville, recent radio carbon dating of wood reveals it is New Zealand's oldest shipwreck.

The preliminary findings suggest the ill-fated ship sank around 1705, pre-dating Captain Cook's voyages by some 65 years .

Speaking at the Dargaville Museum this week, dendrochronologist, Dr Jonathan Palmer cautioned that his findings required further work before his research could be confirmed and published.

The wreck was discovered in 1982 by a local team led by Kaipara shipwreck explorer Noel Hilliam. A portion of a cross-member and rib was salvaged by the team, before the wreck was lost back to the sea under 30 metres of sand.

The wood (complete with iron nails) has been confirmed as teak (tectona grandis) and crepe myrtle (lagerstromei spp), both tropical woods, likely used for refitting at either Genoa or Java.

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Pouto Point Dargaville wood radio carbon dating New Zealand oldest shipwreck Dr Jonathan Palmer