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Hard men used to hard living were found in all 19th-century frontier societies.In (published in 1845), Edward Jerningham Wakefield presented a relatively sympathetic view of whalers.Some Māori worked on ships and made regular trips across the Tasman, while others supplied crews with pork, potatoes and other goods and services.As both exports and imports grew rapidly, Kororāreka became increasingly important to the merchants and capitalists of New South Wales.Our guides have information on starting out, or continuing, as a sex worker.We have information about being self employed as an independent contractor, as well as setting up your own business – which includes information about tax, brothel operators certificates, city council bylaws, and Ministry of Health signs.The arrival of British and American sperm whalers from the early 1820s saw Kororāreka (later renamed Russell) in the Bay of Islands become for a time the biggest whaling port in the southern hemisphere. Sometimes a dozen or more ships would be at anchor, with several hundred men ashore.Kororāreka became a significant point of contact between Europeans and Māori, Ngāpuhi in particular.
Most Europeans who arrived on these shores in this period were here to exploit the country’s natural resources – seals and whales, then timber, flax and fisheries.
In 1834 Edward Markham was told that 30 to 35 whaling ships wouldcome in for three weeks to the Bay and 400 to 500 Sailors require as many Women, and they have been out [at sea] one year. These young Ladies go off to the Ships, and three weeks on board are spent much to their satisfaction as they get from the Sailors a Fowling piece [shotgun], …
Blankets, Gowns &c as much as they would from the Missionary in a year.
An admirer of their ‘active, hard-working lifestyle’, he summed up their character as ‘the frankness and manly courage of the sailor mingle[d] with the cunning and reckless daring of the convict’.
Though prone to drunkenness (a vice Wakefield shared) and with a ‘general inclination to vice and lawlessness’, they redeemed themselves through their ‘many generous and noble qualities’.