This extract is from the Northern Advocate 6 May 1915 – almost a hundred years ago.
“The whaling season, representing a period of considerable activity in the Bay of Islands…opens this month and extends to October. The opening of the season is in no way regulated by the Government, as are the game and oyster seasons, but by the fact that from May to October is the time in which whales frequent these waters to rear their young.
Activities in North Auckland centralise at Whangamumu, where a large and up-to-date plant has been established for the cutting up and boiling down of whales. As is well known, New Zealand was long world-famed as the only country to adopt the unique idea of catching whales in nets…
The black or “right” whale, from which is obtained the black whalebone so much in demand and so valuable, is almost non-existent in these waters nowadays; the whales caught being of the humpback variety, which, if large, are worth about £100 each.”
The photo shows the Whangamumu whale net being set. In 1915 70 humpbacks were caught at Whangamumu. They yielded 250 tons of oil, 70 tons of bonedust for a total value of £4350.
Sources: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=NA19150506.2.5&srpos=143&e=–1915—1915–10-NA-141—-2russell-ARTICLE- ; pg 380, Tides of History by Kay Boese (1977)