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Social & Cultural History :
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Framed montage with text on a large background image of a farmhouse and bush with insets of three photographs of people covered by non—reflective glass. The frame is made from brown wood and the montage is reproduced in black and white. The text reads:


"This whaling tri—pot has been donated by the descendants of Fred and Neil Wilson. Fred and Nell resided in Waikanae throughout the 1920's and 1930's. It is the wishes of the descendants that the historical value of the whaling pot be shared with Waikanae residents and visitors to the Museum for the unique connection it has, between Kapiti Island, the mainland and NZ's whaling history.

Nell and Fred Wilson, and family lived in Wellington and holidayed in Waikanae after the 1919 influenza epidemic. They stayed at the Mahara Guesthouse and establised friendships and a love for the area. Fred, a farmer leased the northern end of the Hemi Matenga estate where he cleared the land for farming sheep. A small house on the property was extended to cater for their 5 children. Nell became involved in the community: Country Women's Institute, Red Cross, Library etc and the children continued their schooling in Wellington due to limited road access.

A strong friendship was established with the Webber family on Kapiti Island. The Wilson and Webber children boarded at Wellington secondary schools, the Wilson home was named Manaaki, and Kapiti Island was a school holiday venue much remembered.

How did the whale arrive in Waikanae?
We are not sure. Possibly by the barge that ferried stock from Kapiti to the mainland or the Manaaki (the vessel owned by the Webber family).

Why did the whale pot come over from Kapiti Island?
So they could boil up tar in order to surface the tennis court. The photos shown here are from Peg Griffin's album. Peg was the eldest Wilson daughter (1904—2014) and a budding photographer. She has dated the event as happening in 1925. It is our belief that the tar has preserved the pot. It remained in our grandmother's garden for decades filled with water lillies and goldfish.

How old is the whaling pot and where was it made?
We leave this to the enthusiasts. We believe there were about six whaling stations on Kapiti Island, and from various bits of information, we can assume that the pot is close to 200 years old".

There are captions under each of the photographs which read clockwise from the left:

"The whaling pot being used to heat tar for surfacing the tennis court",
"Fred Wilson",
"Surfacing the tennis court circa1925".

H—45 W—56 D—1 cm
Click to Enlarge
Montage, The whale pot journeyMontage, The whale pot journey