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Whaling trypots on the Akaroa foreshore are reminders of one of the first industries that brought Europeans to Canterbury.

Category: Structures and Sites
Date: 19th cent
Street Address: Rue Lavaud and Beach Road
HPT registered? No
District Plan Listed? Yes

After occasional earlier visits, whaling ships began to frequent Akaroa Harbour in large numbers in the 1830s. Whalers from France were among those putting into Akaroa Harbour and it was French whaling captain, Jean Francois Langlois, who played a key role in the founding of Akaroa in 1840.

Initially the whalers caught and processed the whales at sea, putting into harbour mainly to replenish supplies. In 1837, Captain George Hempelman established a shore whaling station at Peraki. (This was the first permanent European settlement in Canterbury.) Subsequently, shore whaling stations were established in four other Peninsula bays. At shore stations, the whale carcasses were dragged ashore and cut up on the foreshore.

The large iron pots known as trypots were used to “render down” the whale blubber into whale oil, one of the main products of the industry. The oil was taken to markets in Australia, Europe and America. In the early 20th century, trypots abandoned in the remote bays where the shore stations had been were brought into Akaroa. At least one of them came from Peraki.

There is now one trypot above the beach near the war memorial and three, mounted in a brick base, near the French landing site.


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