William Bartlett - Hawkright

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William Bartlett - Hawkright

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Death: 1848 (59-60)
Mahia, Wairoa District, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Place of Burial: Mahia, Wairoa District, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of William Bartlett
Husband of Takotohiwi Bartlett
Father of Wahine Dyke; Thomas Bartlett; Peter Bartlett and Wititi Bartlett

Occupation: Whaler
Managed by: Hēmi Porou
Last Updated:

About William Bartlett - Hawkright

William Bartlett, who came from the Bay of Islands with Captain Ellis, had for headsmen two of his sons, and one story of the whaling days must suffice. Mr. Tom Bartlett, of Tawatapu, East Coast, and one of Mahia's foremost whalers half a century ago, recently told a story which indicates that the old-time whalers lacked nothing in the way of courage, whatever else they lacked.

"It was," said Mr. Bartlett, "late in the afternoon one day about forty years ago, and a whale was observed spouting just beyond the breakers. Unless she could be killed quickly, to go out after her would be only courting trouble. But the young bloods of our party were determined to have a go, so my harpooner, Morell, and I followed these daredevils down to the boat. They said they would take any chance so long as I was at the steer oar. We approached the whale and got almost on to her when Morell, a skilful harponer, made a successful throw. The whale turned seawards and sped out at a tremendous pace. It was an exciting time for the occupants of the boat, for darkness was fast approaching. But to add to the thrills, the injured whale called to her mates, and in a few minutes a big school surrounded her and the boat. The speed of the injured whale increased and ere long the boat had been dragged some miles out and it was dark. On our journey more than one whale bobbed up under our boat and we had narrow escapes as we glided off them. At times, also, the boat was half full of water, but, at the speed we were travelling, PAGE 75a lot of it would be thrown out again. I wanted to get back home, so I called out to one of the lads to cut the rope. But he would not do so until I began to threaten him.

"It was a very awkward moment when the rope was cut. Coming suddenly to a stop, the boat was almost swamped by the rush of water created by the school of whales. We had to bale out with hats, as well as with a baler, and managed to keep her afloat. As it happened our sister boat came out to look for us; otherwise, we might not have got back till the morning. Luckily for us, our friends indicated the direction of the shore by lighting matches. It did not follow that harm would some to a boat even when in the midst of a school of whales, so long as it kept clear of any one that was injured. Only an injured whale would lash out deliberately."

Mr. Bartlett went on to say that although they lost the whale that had been harpooned they eventually got another. During their forced flight one of the whales that had bobbed up alongside them had exposed its side and Morell had thrust his lance into it. The whale died and next day drifted ashore, much to the delight of the crew. Earlier on the day in question there had been a little bit of trouble. Mr. Bartlett remarked:

"We had been out fishing and were expecting at any time to hear the signal, 'There she spouts!' or 'Ehi pauta!' the pigeon-Maori version of the warning. The young blades would, however, get the boat too close in to the breakers and we were oftentimes in danger. The position was that while the harpooner and myself would be looking seawards for any signs, our younger companions preferred to fix their gaze on the shore where their sweethearts were strolling PAGE 76about. The aim of the young fellows in bringing the boat so dangerously close in was to enable their love-songs to be heard. To stop their little game I had to threaten to cut down their share of the spoils."

The whales as well as the population began to disappear in the early 'seventies, for in June, 1877, when Watty Black's hotel on the peninsula was burned down, it took all of the adult population to form the jury.

William Thomas Bartlett Hawkright married Takotohiwi and moved to Tawatapu where he worked as a whaler.

Whaled at Mahia arrived from Bay of Islands with Captain ELLIS. One source claimed he was born Kent, England, another that he was born in USA in 1816. Sold out his interests to Edward Birt BENDALL. [Possibly the man of Plymouth, Massachusetts, aged 31 shipped on Ship Francis H. 23 Jun 1832, jumped 20 Apr 1833 - supplied Joan DRUETT]

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William Bartlett - Hawkright's Timeline

1788
1788
Bay of Islands, New Zealand
1840
1840
Bay Of Islands, N.L., N.Z.
1844
1844
Bay Of Islands, New Zealand
1848
1848
Age 60
Mahia, Wairoa District, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
1856
1856
Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand
????
????
Mahia, Wairoa District, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand