Whaling pots like this one were used at several small whaling stations along the shores of the Hawkes Bay in the early 1800s for ‘trying out’ (melting down) blubber – the fatty outer skin of large whales. Long strips of blubber were ‘flensed’ (cut) from the carcass, cut into chunks then fine strips, and boiled in these pots. Then the whale oil was cooled and poured into casks for transportation and export. The fire beneath each try-pot was started with wood or coke, then maintained by burning the crisp scraps of blubber which had been boiled free of their oil. (Customhouse Port Ahuriri Collection)

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