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Saturday, January 15, 2022

The latest Butler Point Whaling Museum newsletter


 To those are wondering, Butler Point Whaling Museum is a small museum in the Far North of New Zealand, where there is plenty of very old whaling history.


Butler Point Whaling Museum, 1840s Historic House and Gardens

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”

(Herman Melville, Moby Dick 1851)

            Kohitātea Kōrero

     Newsletter: January 2022

Kia ora koutou


Te reo for January is Kohitātea, when Antares appears in the sky, and “the ground laughs”, referring to the cracks that begin to appear in the ground – an apt description of the slightly dessicated ground at Butler Point this month.


New Zealand is on holiday and the newsletter has been too!

We hope you are enjoying your Summer holidays and this perfect beach weather. A glorious sign of the festive season in  the photo captured below  - pohutukawa stamens

happily decorating the driveway to the Whaling Museum.


‘Alien alert’ Poecilopachys

Australasia is a bizarre-looking

resident in the garden, found

snoozing during the day on our

citrus trees. Commonly known as the two-spined spider, it is a

nocturnal Australian orb-weaving spider resident in NZ since the 1970s.

Looking like a couple of sweet corn cobs, the

image is in fact of the fruit of the multi-talented


In the garden wilted leaves and parched flowers

welcome every opportunity of watering to maintain some

degree of integrity despite the incessant hot temperatures upon them. Thankfully the trees continue to create a cool subtropical oasis of soothing green and we have plenty of cicadas cheering us on. During all those months of

lockdown when no one was looking, the garden was of course a riotous tumble of luscious growth. 


She Captains by Joan Druett

We have spent the last few weeks immersed in Joan Druett’s marvellous books on maritime history. We have been reading She Captains, and thought we would share with you a taster of one of her stories of women sailors:


During the Civil War from 1861-5 women took advantage of the fact that sailors were in short supply and whaling

captains were desperate for crew. Georgiana Leonard signed on to the whaling ship America as George Weldon. It was her vicious temper that led to her discovery. She was stripped for flogging after she pulled a knife on an officer who hit her with an oar when she took a rest from rowing during a whale-chase. She was allowed to stay on board, simply trading jobs with the cabin boy.


Women were known to have been warrior sea captains 2,500 years ago.  Women pirates plagued the Thames, women dressed as men to join the Navy, and just like

Georgiana Leonard mentioned above, it was not so

uncommon to find women disguised as men working on American whaling ships………


More to follow in February – (Pepuere).


Hei konā mai 

Goodbye for now


The team at Butler Point


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