In the 1830s Kororareka was known as the 'hell-hole of the Pacific'. Whalers, sealers, escaped convicts, seamen, traders and adventurers descended upon this small cove in the Bay. Grog-shops and the oldest profession in the world abounded. At one stage the town was said to be harbouring 'a greater number of rogues than any other spot of equal size in the universe'. Some whaling captains steered clear, fearing they'd lose their crews.
But was Kororareka actually a hell-hole? How wild was it really? In this absorbing book on one of the most lively periods in New Zealand history, Richard Wolfe asks new questions, confronts existing myths, and comes up with some fascinating answers.