New Zealand History/A New Economy

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A New Economy Introduced to New Zealand[edit | edit source]

For 50 years after Sydney was founded in 1788, New Zealand became an economic outpost of New South Wales. New Zealand's main European based economy at the time was built around whaling, sealing, farming and trade with the Maori people.

Whaling in New Zealand[edit | edit source]

For the first forty years of the 19th Century, whaling was the biggest economic activity for Europeans that came to New Zealand.

At the time in Europe, whales were needed for their oil (street lighting, frying food, oiling instruments), so the whaling industry in New Zealand was highly successful. The first whaling ship, the William Ann, was in New Zealand waters by around 1791–92, and many whaling ships arrived at New Zealand by the year 1800, most of them being British, American or French. Even some Maori joined whaling crews for new experiences.

Sealing[edit | edit source]

Distribution of New Zealand Fur Seals

The first major sealing operation in New Zealand was in Dusky Sound, November 1792, in which men were dropped off from the ship Britannia, to gather skins of Fur Seals for the China market as payment for tea. By September 1793, when the men were picked up again, they had 4500 skins.

Sealing was revived in 1803, when the seal colonies in Bass Strait, Australia, had been exhausted. Seals were still in high demand, for hats, and the leather for shoes. Furthermore, seal oil burned without smoke or smell and was needed for lighting and some industrial processes.

There was a rush for seals in Dusky Sound and the West Coast in the early nineteenth century, and the seals were hunted to the verge of extinction by 1830. Sealing in New Zealand was finally outlawed in 1926.

Trade with the Maori People[edit | edit source]

The first European ‘town’ grew at Kororāreka, when European whalers started calling into the Bay of Islands for food and water. From the 1790s Maoris started to produce pork and potatoes to trade to the Europeans. The presence of Europeans drew Maoris to European towns. The Maoris were quick to catch on the benefits of trade and were eager for Europeans to live among them. They were especially interested in acquiring firearms.

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