There is a lessening of the sealing rush at Bass Strait as the rookeries become thinner, and as a result sealers return to Dusky Sound and explore the surrounding coast. Little of the movements of these ships is actually recorded as a veil of secrecy still surrounds their activities while the various ships try to make the most of any discoveries before the competition arrives. They occasionally meet local Māori but little information regarding these encounters survives. There are again around half a dozen whalers off the north-east coast of New Zealand, a few of which call into the Bay of Islands. The first Māori to join a whaling ship, and possibly the first to leave New Zealand in 10 years, does so early in the year.
^The colony of New South Wales encompasses New Zealand from 1788 to 1840. Therefore the head of state is the monarch of the United Kingdom represented by the Governor of New South Wales. However, British sovereignty was not established over New Zealand per se until 1840, at which point the Treaty of Waitangi retroactively recognised that it had been an independent territory until then. Furthermore, the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand signed by a number of Maori chiefs in 1835 was formally recognised by the British government at the time, indicating that British sovereignty did not yet extend to New Zealand. (New Zealand Ministry of Culture and Heritage)
^Letter George Bass/Governor King, 30/1/1803; George Bass/Captain Waterhouse 2/2/1803, reproduced McNab, 1908, pp.242-246.