Two historians look at this issue from different angles and on different scales.
Dr. Michael Stevens (no Kai Tahu ki Awarua) is a freelance historian. He is currently writing the ‘world history’ of Bluff, which sheds light on how the likes of sealing, whaling, muttonbirding and oystering connects Foveaux Strait to the wider world. Six successive generations of his family have lived and worked in the port where he was raised and continues to spend a lot of his time.
James Belich has written extensively about the colonial settlement of New Zealand and the New Zealand Wars. He is now Beit Professor of Imperial and Commonwealth History at Oxford University and he takes us back over the centuries of European expansionism and the large-scale exploitation of food resources.
Why did so many Vikings choose Iceland and Greenland over the delights of ninth century Paris? James talks of the “flesh mines” – the seals and walruses that provided food and oil, clothing and ivory. He writes of depletion-driven expansion and of the “crew
culture” – which provided the manpower for it.