Profession: Explorer and Seafarer
Why Famous: The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to sight New Zealand, Tasmania (which he originally named Van Diemen's Land) and the Fiji Islands during a voyage in 1642.
Employed by the Dutch East Indies Company he was appointed to search for new southern lands and set sail from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) where he had been based, with two ships, the Heemskerck, and the Zeehaen.
Birthplace: Lutjegast, Netherlands
- 1642-03-12 Abel Tasman is the 1st European to sight New Zealand, viewing the north-west coast of the South Island
- 1642-11-24 Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovers Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania)
- 1642-12-13 Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sights the South Island of present day New Zealand; initially he calls it Staten Landt and changes it a year later to Nieuw Zeeland
- 1642-12-18 Abel Tasman's expedition sails around Farewell Spit and into Golden Bay, first sighting local Māori in New Zealand
- 1642-12-19 4 of Abel Tasman's crew killed at Wharewharangi (Murderers) Bay by Māori; Tasman's ships depart without landing