Cannibal Cove

Although seemingly protected by high hills this is an unsatisfactory place for an anchorage. Winds from W to N blow through the bay with considerable force. The bay is completely open to E to S winds.

The bottom is sandy and is not good holding. 


Anaho is the Māori name for this bay. It means, new bay or bay that runs deep.1

In 1770, the bay was named Cannibal Cove by Captain James Cook after the crew of the HMS Endeavour found human bones in the remains of a meal.

Archaeological evidence suggests a long history of human settlement in the bay. In 1777, the crew of Captain Cook’s ship, HMS Resolution, recorded that the papakāinga or village in the bay had a total of six huts, the largest of which was 24 feet long and 12 feet wide. The Europeans also noted the village was undefended and appeared to be temporary.2

By the nineteenth century the papakāinga at Anaho had increased to around 90 people and was one of the largest settlements in Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui. The inhabitants of the bay, from the iwi, Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui, grew food in large gardens, kept livestock and harvested kaimoana or food from the sea.3

At this time the bay was also home to Arthur Cruickshank Elmslie and his wife, Erihapeti Pouakai.

Elmslie was born in England but arrived in the Marlborough Sounds during the 1830s. In 1833 he married Erihapeti Pouakai of Ngāti Koata and they divided their time between Anaho and the whaling station at Te Awaiti Bay in the Tory Channel.4

Their residence at Anaho was known as the summer house. It was the largest house in the papakāinga and was used as a communal gathering place for converts to Christianity. The house had wattle walls, was plastered with clay and thatched with rushes.

Anaho became well known throughout the Marlborough Sounds for its hospitality and was visited by many travellers to the area, including in 1839, representatives of the New Zealand Company.5

In 1907 a schooner, the Pet became stranded in the bay. Although damage to the vessel was minor, it was never recovered.6

The small bay to the north of Anaho is known as Little Waikawa. This name may refer to a water source in the bay that was unpleasant to the taste.7

During the 1770s, Captain Cook’s crew recorded two dwellings in Little Waikawa. These had disappeared by the 1830s when the settlement at Anaho was at its height.8


1. W. H. Sherwood Roberts, “Maori Nomenclature: Maori Names of Places in the Provincial District of Marlborough,” Marlborough Express, Volume XXXVII, Issue 210, 5 September 1903, Supplement, accessed January 9, 2018, .

2. Anne Salmond, Between Worlds: Early Exchanges Between Maori and Europeans 1773-1815 (Auckland: Penguin, 1997) 92, 128.

3. Marlborough District Council, Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council, “Te Tau Ihu Statutory Acknowledgements 2014”, accessed July 18, 2018, .

4. Olive Baldwin, Story of New Zealand’s French Pass and d’Urville Island (Plimmerton: Fields Publishing House, 1979) 78-80, 132-134.

5. Hilary Mitchell and John Mitchell, Te Tau Ihu O Te Waka: a History of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough: Volume 1: Te Tangata me Te Whenua- the People and the Land (Wellington: Huia, 2004) 249-258.

6. David A. Armstrong, “NZ King Salmon Plan Change: Heritage Report in Respect of Proposed Waitata Reach, Port Gore, Tory Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound Salmon Farm Sites” (NZ King Salmon, 2011), accessed, July 25, 2018, .

7. Roberts, “Maori Nomenclature”.

8. Tristan Wadsworth, “The spatial distribution of pā in Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand”, Thesis, Master of Arts, University of Otago, 2015. Accessed, September 25, 2018 from .

Deep (>10m)
Type of beach