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Art & Heritage

Perano Whaling Station

  • 1 minute

Marlborough, South Island

In Cook Strait (channel of water between the North and South Island, New Zealand) and the Tory Channel whaling continued until the 1960’s. The evidence of whaling and the ‘robber economy’ is graphically illustrated at Perano Whaling Station. The Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds is where whaling finally ceased in New Zealand.

Perano Whaling Station is largely closed to visitors due to site hazards. Check the Department of Conservation website for up to date details.

Perano Whaling Station in New Zealand
Perano Whaling Station in New Zealand

The following is part of the Department of Conservation online resource …

‘Perano Whaling Station is nestled in the secluded Fishermans Bay facing Kura-te-au/Tory Channel. It operated from 1911 to 1964, the longest of any 20th century whale oil processing plant in the country.

Many of the innovations that advanced whaling around the world were developed and tested in the calm waters of the station, such as the power-driven chaser boat and electric harpoon.

The site was restored in 2010 by DOC and the remains of the massive processing complex are clearly visible, as well as the wharf the Perano chaser boats set off from. Surfacing from the clear blue water is the slipway, once used to haul 15 metre long harpooned whales. The site also features bone saws, a steam boiler, whale oil tanks, and the digester that was used to separate the oil.

The heritage of many New Zealanders, both Māori and non-Māori, can be traced back to the families employed by the Perano Whaling Station.

In the adjacent bay at Te Awaiti, less than 1 km from Perano Whaling station, was New Zealand’s first onshore whaling station, established in 1829. Together, these locations are essential to understanding the history of whaling in New Zealand.’ source Perano Whaling Station: Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui area.



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