The seal pup was on the south eastern shore of Motungarara island , which lies just off the eastern coast of the Kapiti Island nature reserve.
Karl says the pup is a good healthy example of a fur seal.
He adds: “There is a good colony in full-time residence around the top of the north end of Kapiti Island — and there is a colony settled in around the south end of Kapiti as well.
“We see a few, over the winter months mainly,
“They like to sunbath: I guess, as with all animals, they will have a fine balance between hunting, etc, and sunning — and so they conserve their energy very efficiently!
Kapiti Island was renowned as the stronghold of the Ngāti Toa tribe during the 1820s and 1830s, when the great chief Te Rauparaha made it the centre of an extensive empire. He was assisted by his nephew, Te Rangihaeata, who lived on Mana.
Karl’s whanau, the Webbers, are among Maori who still own land in the northern part of Kapiti Island. He says he regards his time on Motongarara is ‘as Kaitiaki / caretaker for now — and I’m hoping to encourage our younger ones here so I can pass on a bit of knowledge.’
Sadly, the erosion of Maori influence on Kapiti began in the early 1800’s when the first Europeans began to frequent Cook Strait. It was then that whalers and sealers, adventurers, traders, and missionaries often called at Kapiti.
According to one respected historical source, Ngāti Toa encouraged Europeans, and sold parts of each island (Kapiti and Mana ) to them, as they wanted the artifacts (guns included) that Europeans could supply.
Later the new settlers stocked the islands with sheep and cattle and began farming.
And so many Maori activities, and the Eurpean whaling station, which had been a feature of Kapiti life, became a thing of the past.