Friday, January 18, 2013

Deconstructing a Dead Whale

There is no clean and tidy way to dispose of a dead whale. Everyone from Greenpeace to Norway knows that. The old man of the sea that washed up at the Pram Boat Club was always going to be a mission to inter.

I'm glad my hunter/gatherer mate went for a rubberneck so I didn't have to. The crowds of gawpers, the tang of cordite and intestines fugging the air that does nasty things to my memory. Ta but na. Even he was stunned by the amateurism and gore that went into digging out the jawbone. He reckoned they should have used a chainsaw and be done with it.

A funny fact about whaling; the Law Commission's Alcohol in Our Lives Report never mentioned it, but the Maori who worked on the whaling stations didn't drink with their European workmates. They socialised, they smoked tobacco, but kept away from the demon drink.

It was only in the 1860's, when converted Christian Maori started preaching to their own, that alcohol became an accepted part of Maori habit. Even then, places like Parihaka sprang up as oasis of socialisation without inebriation. Later on, the same quantum effect of culture occurred in the 1950's with the urbanisation of Maori. The generational fallout from that continues today.

Anyways, the remains of the whale passed by my rented whenua sometime yesterday and is now interred somewhere in Raumati South. The jawbone is getting picked clean by sea leeches or whatever. And I'm finally going to sit down and read Moby Dick for the first time.