A61_933.jpg Tripot (about 1830s). Collection of Puke Ariki (A61.933).

There was plenty of booze but not enough whales to sustain New Plymouth’s shore based whaling industry.

This heavy cast iron tripot was used at either Richard ‘Dicky’ Barrett’s or Richard Brown’s whaling station at New Plymouth during the 1840s. Designed to be encased in a brick oven a fire was lit underneath it that melted chunks of whale blubber and allowed the whale oil to overflow into another tripot. It was then bailed into barrels.

But there could be no industry without whales. In her book The Interpreter Angela Caughey notes Barrett struggled at times to marshal his drunken crew which killed three whales during 1841 and just one whale in 1842. By the 1840s southern right whales had been hunted to near extinction round the New Zealand coast.

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