New Zealand Tom


This sperm whale (sometimes named also NZ Jack) belongs to "the prehistory of the war" as he fought against english whalers in the early 1800 years primarily in Tasman basin. Before their arrival, in 1780 years, he was probably considered as a powerful god by maoris, in relation with their mythology : during their migration from chinese sea, their ancestors were accompanied and assisted by Tautira Kauika, a huge sperm whale who was the chief of a cetacean army. NZ Tom was easily recognizable as he had a white hump. Perhaps he has been the hugest of all legendary whales, as he belonged to the geographical variety of largest sperm whales in the world. These giants were still hunted between 1840 and 1880 years near Solander islands (SW of New - Zealand). Their hunt continued to a lesser scale up to 1960 years, when some big males had still an offensive behaviour toward ships...  In 1804, crews of several whalers, amongst them Adonis, lost nine boats very quickly after the beginning of the fight, and were obliged to stop the hunt. NZ Tom was eventually killed later, and many harpoons received during various fightings were found in his body. Though he has not been directly implicated in the first Pacific war, he is perhaps his precursor in some way, as he could have been a mentor for Mocha Dick, commander in chief of sperm whale army during the first Pacific war. The white "old Tom" mentioned by RW Emerson in 1834 is possibly a confusion between Mocha Dick and NZ Tom, from a second hand witness. This legendary whale was primarily referenced by Thomas Beale, then by Melville. The latter offered him an honorific obituary, as it's convenient for any soldier who has been a battle hero.

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