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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 June, 2005, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Call for access to Cook diaries
Drawing by Capt James Cook
The documents are currently on show in Kew, London
Newly-released documents and maps drawn by explorer Captain James Cook should be displayed in his native Teesside, an MP has said.

History fans are getting their first chance to see the documents at the National Archives in London.

Middlesbrough South MP Ashok Kumar wants the documents to be brought to the town's Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Marton.

The documents include hand drawn images of New Zealand and diaries.

The documents have recently been donated to the national archives and are now based in Taunton in Somerset.

They form the centrepiece of a national exhibition in Kew, London.

But Mr Kumar says he hopes that once this exhibition closes, they will be available to be shown in the explorer's home region.

Among the maps, drawn by both Marton-born James Cook and his first officer, William Bligh, were the first full maps made of New Zealand and of the coastline of Antarctica.

They were donated to the National Archives in Kew by the Navy's UK Hydrographical Office in Taunton, where they have been stored for over 200 years.

Capt James Cook
Captain Cook was killed in Hawaii in 1779

Mr Kumar said: "It is good to see these national treasures can now be seen by the general public, and I am sure those going to the Kew exhibition will be thrilled to see the first ever human maps made of Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.

"However, I hope that after this exhibition closes, consideration will be giving to loaning them to the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Marton, so that local Cleveland folk can see these exciting artefacts for themselves.

"I, and everyone else in this area, are proud that Captain Cook was born in what is today's Marton and I think it only right that we should be allowed to appreciate the work and skill of our most famous son.

"To that end, I have written to Sarah Tyacke, the chief executive of the National Archive, to ask whether she would consider this request."

Cook was born in October 1728 in Marton and became one of Britain's most famous naval explorers.

Cook explored and claimed possession of eastern Australia, returning to England in June 1771.

He was stabbed to death after trying to retrieve a stolen cutter in Hawaii in February 1779 and buried at sea at Kealakekua Bay on 21 February 1779.

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