History & heritage  |  7 Sep 2022

Some important relics of Akaroa’s whaling days are being returned to a prime spot on the township’s waterfront.

Three whaling try pots that date back to the early 1800s are about to be reinstated on Beach Road after being carefully restored.

The pots have been a distinctive feature of Akaroa’s waterfront for decades and countless children have clambered in and out of them over the years.  However, years of exposure to the corrosive sea environment left them rusted and pitted.

In 2020, contractors working for Christchurch City Council carefully prised the pots off their brickwork plinth and removed them so they could be restored.

The restoration work to protect the pots and ensure their longevity is now finished and the pots are ready to be reinstated on Beach Road, between Church Street and Rue Jolie.

The pots will be reinstated early this month, weather permitting.

Try pots were originally used by sailors sitting on ship decks, or in whaling stations dotted on the foreshore around New Zealand from the 1830s, to boil down whale blubber for use in lamps and soap. The pots were usually organised in a “nest’’, with a fire lit underneath.

The shore-whaling era on Banks Peninsula ended about 1850. All three of the pots in Akaroa came from local whaling stations.

You can find out more about the rich history of Akaroa at Akaroa Museum. Entry to the Museum is free and it is open daily from 10.30am to 4pm.