4. Captain James Cook’s First Encounter Was Terrifying
The first encounter between Europeans and the Maori was in December 1646, when a Dutch ship made landfall near a Maori tribe. Both groups were standoffish and this led to a small fight that resulted in deaths on both sides. After the run in, the Dutch sailed off and Europeans would not go back until October 1767, when English navigator James Cook travelled there looking for the fabled fourth continent.
When Captain Cook first encountered the Maori, they sent out two war canoes to meet them. When the canoes approached, two fully grown Maori warriors, complete with face tattoos, stood up and held up the shrunken heads of their latest opponents, who were also covered with tattoos. Cook and his crew immediately noticed the detail on the faces and knew the heads were real.