The picturesque bay of Port Hutt is tucked away in a sheltered cove of Whangaroa Harbour on the western side of the Island. It has been developed into a picnic spot. The harbour has a colourful history. It was the landing place for Maori in 1835 and later a popular port for whaling and trading ships to replenish their supplies.
American scientists observed the transit of Venus from here in late 1874 and Diedrick Papen grazed sheep on the ‘clears’, the poor peaty soils covered with native grass, rushes, flax and fern until the early 1900s.
After the start of the cod-fishing in 1910, Whangaroa Harbour was used as a base for floating freezer vessels and the Thomas Currell was also used in this way. Built in 1919 as an Admiralty standard class trawler she was first used as a mine-sweeper before being engaged in fishing and carrying fish to Germany. Acquired by Sanfords of Auckland in 1922 the vessel trawled the Hauraki Gulf before being requisitioned by the navy as a minesweeper again during WW2.
The Thomas Currell came to the Chathams during the mid-1960s crayfish boom and now rests alongside other relics in the shallow waters of the bay.
Today, Port Hutt is the base for a small crayfishing, long-lining and pāua harvesting industry; the fish factory, built during the cray boom, is used for storage by a Waitangi fish factory.
Make sure you ask your host (when you book accommodation) to arrange a day trip to Port Hutt