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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



End of an Era

During 1963 the International Whaling Commission prohibited humpback catching throughout the Southern Hemisphere for an indefinite period. At the close of the 1962 season, whaling at the Whangaparapara Harbour station, Great Barrier Island, came to an end. In January 1965 it was announced that the Tory Channel whaling station would also close down, because catches had been steadily declining. For a number of seasons the company had been running at a loss, in spite of a Government guarantee of £45 per ton for whale oil. This decision probably marks the end of the long and sometimes desultory era of shore-based whaling in New Zealand.

by William Henry Dawbin, M.SC., Senior Lecturer, Department of Zoology, University of Sydney.


All New Zealand general histories, most provincial or district histories, and many biographies include some mention of whaling and whalers. There is, however, no single work dealing with all the phases of whaling in New Zealand, and it is necessary to use contemporary newspaper reports and unpublished sources, such as port shipping lists, Customs returns, consular and Government records, and the logs and diaries of whalers, to fill in many details. The following list names some of the books which provide further information on various phases of New Zealand whaling:

  • History of Otago, McLintock, A. H. (1949)
  • Murihiku, McNab, R. (1909)
  • Old Whaling Days, McNab, R. (1913)
  • The Piraki Log, or the Diary of Captain Hempleman, Anson, A. A. (ed.) (1911)
  • The Cruise of the Cachelot, Bullen, Frank T. (1898)
  • Whaleman Adventures, Dakin, W. J. (1938)
  • The Whaling Journal of Captain W. B. Rhodes, 1836–38, Straubel, C. R. (ed.) (1934)
  • Adventure in New Zealand, Wakefield, E. J. (1908).