Prostitution is often referred to as ‘the oldest profession’, and dates back to biblical times. Sailors arriving in New Zealand in the late 18th and early 19th centuries were starved of female company after long voyages on all-male ships. Once on land, they were keen to buy sexual services. At this period in New Zealand history sailors were quickly followed by whalers, sealers and other traders, who sometimes exchanged goods, especially muskets, with Māori males in return for sexual contact with Māori women. Some sailors formed temporary relationships with Māori ‘wives’ and provided them with dresses and other goods. It was also not uncommon for women and children to be forced by men of their tribe into having multiple sexual partners. The Bay of Islands port of Russell had a reputation for drunkenness and prostitution. In 1840 it was a busy port with over 700 vessels visiting the town, each with a crew of 30 to 40 horny men who went ashore for recreation and provisioning. read more