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Sealers' camps and shore-based Whaling Stations in New Zealand

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Whaling Stations and Sealers' Camps in Coastal New Zealand

New Zealand lies in the path of Humpback whales, Right whales, Minke and Sperm Whales migrating between the Antarctic and their breeding grounds in the Pacific.[1]

SEE Te Ara: Whaling for a map locating whaling stations along the coast of New Zealand

The New Zealand fur seal skins of six-month-old cubs killed in autumn were used for hat making, the skins sent directly to China. The skin of older male seals caught later in the year were sent to London. Barrels of oil from boiled down seal blubber was used for lighting.

Important to keep in mind - the women of the Shore Whalers - see the web pages Shore Whaler's Wahine by Stephen J. Donaldson

1792, a shore station hunting fur seals was established at Dusky Sound, Fiordland; ship Britannia; master William Raven; & Brittania returns in 1793 to pick up the sealers

1792 - William and Ann Capt. Eber Bunker, visits Doubtless Bay, Northland.

Kororareka (Russell) in the Bay of Islands becomes a port for resupplying whaling and sealing ships [2]

1794 - first recorded cargos of whale oil and sealskins registered by Customs agents

1795-97 - large group of Europeans stranded in Dusky Sound, including Elizabeth (Bason) Heatherly & Ann Carey

1802 - Capts. Charles Bishop & George Bass, ship Venus in Dusky Sound

1803 - a Bass Strait sealer, Endeavour (Captain Joseph Oliphant), called at Dusky Sound to engage in sealing. [3] [4]

1803 - The Diana (now namedSurprise) sailed for King's Island to take of Kable and Underwood's sealers. [5]

1805 - Three sealing gangs dropped on the Antipodes Islands in February 1805. Over the next two years up to 80 sealers lived there.

1806 - Capt. Abraham Bristow (S. Enderby & Sons) discovered Auckland islands & dropped sealing gangs; gangs also dropped at Bounty Islands.

1809 - Capt. Frederick Hasselburg ship Perseverance discovered Campbell Island (named for Campbell & Co.) drops off a gang of seven sealers, picks them up again in late October.

1809 - Captain Robert Mason, ship Brothers (Campbell & Co.) dropped sealing gangs at Ragged Rock (White Island?) & Isle of Wight (Green Island?) & was at Port Daniel in 1810.

1810 - 1820 Macquarie Island - ships Boyd 1809 (Capt. Holyford, attacked & burned in Whangaroa Harbour); Perseverance (Capt. Frederick Hasselburg, Campbell & Co.) in 1810 follows up Boyd's discovery; closely followed within a few days by Aurora (Capt. S.R. Chase); Star (Capt. John Wilkinson); Unity (Capt. Daniel Cooper); Elizabeth and Mary (Campbell & Co.) & Sydney Cove.

1810 - 1821 Sealers' War (The War of the Shirt)

By about 1812 the rush was over.

1814 - Capt. Samuel Fowler, ship Matilda on the east coast of Southland; a number of Indian crew desert ship, crew members led by Robert Brown search for them, camp near Moeraki, and are attacked by Maori. [6]

1820s - second sealing boom fades

Brief revival in 1823–26

1827 - John (Jacky) Guard begins whaling for bone at Te Awaiti in the Tory Channel (ship Waterloo) and James (Jacky) Hayter Jackson;

1828 - Dicky Barrett (Richard Barrett) and Jacky Love (John Agar Love) prev. traders on the ship Adventure, settle on the Taranaki coast.

1828 - Peter Williams established a whaling station at Preservation Inlet

1829; the London whaler Foxhound operated between Cloudy Bay and Sydney, taking 3 cargoes per year and returning with supplies and trade goods to exchange for flax.

1829, on Arapawa Island, Malborough Sounds.

1830s - Kororareka (Russell) in the Bay of Islands, becomes a popular seaport and develops the first permanent European population in New Zealand

In 1831 the Weller's Bay Whaling Station established in Otago Harbour (Otaku)

From c.1832, Te Rangihaeata was encouraging trade with Whalers on Mana Island, Kapiti Coast.

1832 - Captain William Kinnard (an old Captain from Sydney) and four seal hunters, were left at Rocky Point by the Admiral Gifford out of Sydney, to establish a sealing station. (they were killed by Maori) [7]

1832 - Ward (an American) began whaling at Waikokopu; the first station in the area; after his first season, sold out to Mr Perry

In 1834, Jacky Guard sold his interest at Te Awaiti to Dicky Barrett (Richard Barrett) and Jacky Love (John Agar Love) who settle there with their wives Wakaiwa, Mereruru and Hikimapu, their families

1835 - George Hempleman at Peraki, Banks Peninsula

The women at Cloudy Bay were from Kawhia,

The women in the Sounds were Ngati-awa.

Waikouaite Whaling Station, Otago

Kapiti Island

In 1832 six vessels arrived in Cloudy Bay for the start of the whaling season including The Dragon out of Hobart and the Courier, the William Stoveldand the New Zealander

Porirua whale station - the American ship Juno

1836 - in Cloudy Bay, two ships from Sydney, two British whalers, a French schooner, and thirteen American whalers were anchored at the beginning of the season.

1837 - whaling began at Gisborne; by 1847 there were 17 boats in Hawke’s Bay, with a particular concentration around Māhia; small stations along the coast to Cape Runaway. [8] Ward brothers established a whaling station at Waikokopu & Capt. William Ellis established a whaling station opposite, at Te Mahia

1837 - the whaler Roslyn Castle, out of Sydney spent nineteen month whaling around the coast New Zealand.

Banks Peninsula; stations established at Little Port Cooper in 1836; and Peraki in 1837

Richards & Co., whaling vessels, the Proteus, Rosyln Castle and Bee'; and two Whaling Stations on Kapiti Island, two at Ocean Bay and Port Underwood

Preservation Harbour, Ferveaux Sound, whaling station

1839 - Americans Mayhew and Lewis have Whaling Stations on Kapiti Island including Evan's Island, east of Kapiti

1841 - Robert Fyffe began shore-whaling at the Kaikoura Whaling Station

1846 - Tuatuku Station on Stewart Island

1842 - John Murray drowned in 1845 and his brother took over running both the sheep station and the whaling business.

1845 - Fyffe purchased the South Bay station

William Edwards at Putotaranui whaling station (near Rangaika)

Brief revival of sealing trade in the 1870s and 1880s, inc. penguin skins used for ladies’ muffs.

  1. Te Ara: map : Whales in New Zealand Waters
  2. The New Zealand Wars vol:1 ch:2 The Beach at Kororareka
  3. Murihiku: A History of the South Island of New Zealand Ch: XI : First Sealers Arrive, 1803 to 1805
  4. note: three different ships named "Endeavour" important in history of Dusky Sound - Captain Cook's vessel Endeavour discovered Dusky Sound; the first vessel wrecked in Dusky sound was named Endeavour; the first Bass Straight sealing vessel to work Dusky Bay was named Endeavour.
  5. the Ships List : Sydney Gazette & NSW Advertiser 5th March 1803
  6. Dunedin Family History Group Moeraki
  7. Admiral Gifford (ship)
  8. Historic Poverty Bay & East Coast: Northern Whalers Invade Mahia
Banks Peninsula - Peraki, Akaroa, Little Port Cooper
Bay of Plenty - Cape Runaway, Te Kaha, Maraenui
Bay of Islands, Whangamumu
Cloudy Bay (Te Koko-o-Kupe) at Blenheim
Hawkes Bay - Mahia, Mohaka, Waikokopu
Kaikoura, South Bay
five stations on on Kapiti Island
Great Barrier Island, Whangaparapara
New Plymouth
Otago - Otakou, Moeraki, Timer
Preservation Inlet; south Fiordland, western corner of Southland
Stewart Island
Tory Channel, Port Underwood
ships - the Ships List : Sydney Gazette & NSW Advertiser 5th March 1803
Arrived the Greenwich Whaler, Mr. Alexander Law master, with 1700 barrels of spermaceti oil, procured mostly off the N.E. Coast of New Zealand.
The whalers then cruising off the NE coast NZ were the Venus; (B. Gardner) Albion (Buncker); and Alexander (Rhodes) - all expected to refit in Sydney in a month or so.
The Harriot (Chace) had sailed for England with full holds.
The Greenwich Whaler was due to leave for England


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