Jillett's Whaling Station, Kapiti Island

Jillett's Whaling Station, Kapiti Island

Jillett's whaling station on Kāpiti Island, 1844.

Strategically close to Cook Strait, Kāpiti Island watched over trade routes as well as providing a place of refuge. Te Rauparaha let several whalers and traders use the island. Whaling was already declining when John Gilfillan sketched the orginal watercolour from which Walter Bowing did this copy. Jillett's whaling station spread out along the Waiorua beach.

In the 1820s Te Rauparaha led Ngāti Toa and its allies on a great migration to the southern North Island, using muskets to defeat traditionally armed local tribes. From his base on Kāpiti Island, Te Rauparaha also controlled the northerners' invasion of the top of the South Island and launched devastating attacks against Ngāi Tahu as far south as Kaiapoi.

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