Heritage Talk - When Hollywood came to Whangamumu

Whats On

The story of the lost Whangamumu whaling film taken in 1933 and subsequently used in a Hollywood penny dreadful movie, presented by Bay of Islands maritime history author, Lindsay Alexander.
This film was a recreation of old-style open boat whaling. It should be better known locally as the American filmmaker, Stacy Woodard who organised and filmed the event, later won an Oscar (Short Film category 'City of Wax' 1936).

This was the last gasp of more than a century of connections between northern New Zealand and American whaling.

Lindsay has sourced 54 photographs of the event, sent to him from California (these are now in the National Library, Wellington). He also found the only surviving parts of the film. These were embedded within a Hollywood 'penny dreadful' film, 'I Conquer the Sea' released in 1936 and encompass 7 minutes in total.

These form the basis of this talk, with a broad explanation of the Whangamumu whaling station, unique in the world for catching whales using nets.

The picture above is from the film showing open boat whaling using a harpoon.

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Event Dates

Wednesday 30 November 2022