Early settlers were low-life whalers
Thar she blows!
Right whales running the Mana Channel in the 1830s did so at their peril.
Once the look- out sighted a whale, shore whalers would launch their boats from Paremata Point in pursuit.
Hunted for their oil, blubber and baleen, whales were a major source of income in early 19th century New Zealand.
Total sales of whale oil from the Port Nicholson area fetched £50,000 at the London market in 1846.
Shore whalers are invariably described as drunken, unruly and violent men.
Often ex-convicts or runaways from sea, whalers frequently married into the local community and stayed on beyond the whaling season of May to October.
It took a strong hand to control such men, and one such master was Joseph ‘‘ Geordie Bolts’’ Thoms. This sepia sketch depicts Thoms’ whaling station and hotel in Paremata ( now Ngatitoa Domain), which he established in 1835.
He later purchased the five-acre Paramatta Block in 1939 from the local chief A Kie for goods to the value of £163 3s 8d.
He was married to Te Ua Torikirikiri, daughter of Ngati Toa tohunga Nohorua, and was the only Pakeha to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, as Nohorua’s witness.
Later, when shore whaling in the Porirua area declined, Thoms ran his hotel for travellers, and managed a ferry service across the ‘‘gut’’ to Porirua.
Landmark: Toms’, Porirua [sic], artist unknown, depicts the whaling station and hotel on land now home to Ngatitoa Domain. (ATL ref: qMS-0613-070)