Karitane by the Sea - Whalers, Traders and Fishermen

Karitane by the Sea

 

John H. Brock’s delightful painting of the old wharf and store at Karitane Beach in 1923 touches on the history, commerce and seaside holidays that are all part of the Karitane story. (Hocken Library, 24.052.)

Karitane is a little township and fishing port at the mouth of the Waikouaiti River on the coast north of Dunedin. Outside the area the name Karitane probably conjures up images of babies and association with Sir Truby King, the founder of the Plunket movement. While Karitane By the Sea does bring out the role of Sir Truby King in the development of fishing at Karitane, and of the township itself, this story is focused on the more than 170 years of shipping through the Port of Waikouaiti.

 


It brings together references to pre-colonial and post-colonial whaling, commercial shipping to the river and bay up to the late 1870s and a history of the fishing industry, especially crayfishing, up to the present − the latter based on both documentary and oral sources. A large number of interviews with former and current fishermen have been conducted over the last decade to uncover a story not previously recorded. Lessons have been learnt from over-exploitation of a fragile resource.

The port lies in a picturesque setting which artists have recognised over the years and this book is generously illustrated with their work, helping to compensate for a dearth of early photographs. Puketeraki and Karitane were well covered by the postcard mania of the early 1900s and full use has been made of two local collections to supplement other photographs.

 

 

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