Story: Whaling

Hunting sperm whales

Whalers were attracted to New Zealand by the numerous sperm whales to the north and east of North Cape. This engraving by Joel Samuel Polack shows whaling in the area in 1838, when there were many American whalers. The American sea shanty in this sound clip refers to ‘a thousand whales off the coast of New Zealand’. Two verses are sung by Wellington’s Bach Choir.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-032-026
Engraving by Joel Samuel Polack

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Sound file from Bach Choir of Wellington

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Whaling - Ship-based whaling', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/music/6247/hunting-sperm-whales (accessed 12 December 2019)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 12 Jun 2006