The Acheron, captained by John Lort Stokes, was the first vessel to undertake a detailed hydrographic survey of New Zealand waters, between 1848 and 1851. The ship (barely visible at far right) is set against the dramatic scenery of the South Island’s Milford Sound. The artist has indulged himself and introduced a group of Māori in the foreground to provide a sense of scale and human interest. But there is no mention of Māori in Milford Sound in the journals of anyone on board the Acheron.
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