Whale People

Humans have revered whales, hunted them, and explored their astounding adaptations to life in the sea.

Meet some of the people whose lives have been inextricably linked with whales – from legendary South Pacific whale riders to whale scientists and former whaling families.

Te iwi tohorā

Kua whakawehia, kuāpatua ngā tohorā e te tangata, ā, kua toroa tō rātou noho whakamīharo ki roto i te moana.

Tūtakitia mai etahi o ngā tāngata e matatau ana ki ngā tohorā mai i nga kaieke tohora rongonui nō Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa tae atu ki ngā tohunga tohorā me ngā whānau whaiwhai tohorā.

 

In this section

Pātaka and the story of Tinirau and the whale

Pātaka and the story of Tinirau and the whale

Some patterns on pātaka probably have their origins in the story of the chief Tinirau and his pet whale Tutunui.
Pātaka Taonga

Pātaka Taonga

Discover the treasures stored in the pātaka taonga.
Whale land

Whale land

Māori sometimes remembered significant events and stories about whales by naming islands and landforms after them.
Whale riders

Whale riders

Discover some of the rich whale-riding traditions of Māori culture.
Whaling, then and now

Whaling, then and now

Māori and other South Pacific harvested food and materials from whales that occasionally stranded on their shores.

Top: Sperm whale, courtesy of Brandon Cole. Right: Orca fluke, photograph courtesy of Dr Ingrid Visser, Orca Research Trust