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ADOLF WOERMANN     1906 passenger - cargo liner

The twin screw German Mail Steamer of 6,355 tons was built by the Reiherstieg Werft of Hamburg in 1906. She was 125 metres long and 15 metres in the beam, with a cruising speed of 13 knots and carried 301 passengers in three classes.

The vessel was named after the son of Carl Woermann founder of the Woermann Line of Hamburg (later known as the German East Africa Line) and was the second of three ships to bear the name.

Her regular ports of call were: Hamburg, Bremen, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Southampton, Las Palmas, Luanda, Lobito, Walvis Bay, Luderitz, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Lourenço Marques.

Seized by the British at the end of the war.

Departed England June 1919, arrived at Wellington October 1919 with returning World War 1 service personnel and their war brides.

Acquired by David Steamship Co and renamed Westminster Abbey in late 1919.

1921 the ship was acquired by the Royal Netherlands Mail Line and renamed Venezuela to replace a ship of the same named wrecked at Casablanca the previous year.

She sailed on the Hamburg-Central America route until 1938, when she was sold for scrap.


June Browne, Roel Zwama

CHAUNCY MAPLES     1899 Lake Nyasa Steamer

Built on the Clyde in 1899 she was adapted from missionary steamer to troop carrier, naval gunboat and fishing trawler to passenger and cargo vessel and is in continuing use today.

The vessel is named after Bishop Chauncy Maples, an Oxford graduate who founded the UMCA Mission on Likoma Island in Lake Nyasa, proved a rare exception to the breed of evangelist who arrived in Africa with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other, indiscriminate about which tool was used to add converts to their congregations.

The island of Likoma, 8km long and 3km wide, lies within Mozambican waters but is territorially part of Malawi, mainly as a result of its long association with Scottish missionaries. In 1886. Likoma was established as an Anglican mission by Bishop Chauncey Maples, an Oxford graduate and was the headquarters of the Anglican Church in Malawi until after World War II. Likoma is isolated and relaxed and the good beaches contrast with the mountainous Mozambican shore making it very atmospheric. The southern part of the island is covered in huge baobabs, mango trees and large granite outcrops. The island is not on the main tourist route so the beaches are uncrowded and the locals extremely friendly. Chipyela is the island’s largest town.

The Newark Boiler Works's most far-flung commission, an Abbott boiler, was sent off to Africa to power a steamship in Tanzania.

Christened the Chauncy Maples, the steamship was commissioned by British missionaries operating among communities who lived along the shores of the 350-mile-long Lake Nyasa.

The ship was to be manufactured in England then transported to Africa in pieces where it would be re-assembled in-situ on the lakeside.

While the ship itself cost £9,000, the cost of transporting it to Lake Nyasa added a further £5,500. Abbott's won the contract to supply the ship's boiler, which weighed 11 tons and was similar to those built for railway locomotives.

Shipping the boiler to Africa was a relatively straightforward affair, but from the port side at Chinde there still remained a 350-mile trek across Africa by river and road.

Towing the boiler on barges on the first leg of the journey up the Zambesi presented no real problems. When the river became blocked by waterfalls or rapids, however, the barges had to be unloaded and the boiler carried overland.

A special carriage with traction engine wheels had been constructed and at various points on its journey as many as 450 Angoni tribesmen were enlisted to pull it up the steep hills and across boulder-strewn river beds. They averaged about three miles a day.

Triumphantly in May 1901, two years after leaving England, the boiler and other parts of the Chauncy Maples reached the shores of Lake Nyasa and were successfully reassembled.

The ship remained in service with the missionaries for many years with the Abbott boiler being finally replaced in 1921.


Morshead, Anne Elizabeth Mary Anderson     -1928
Lady of the Lake
Blantyre: Central Africana, 1991. frontis (tipped-in color), photos, 161p. dj. 19cm.
The Story of Lake Malawi's M. V. Chauncy Maples. Reprint of "The Building of the Chauncy Maples" (1903) to which has been added "A History of the Boat on the lake, 1902-1990" by Vera Garland (pp. 125-161)

EVA     1904 Auxiliary Schooner


The Eva was originally built to carry passengers and mail to Auckland provincial river ports with a shallow draft in order to negotiate sand bars.

She was built by the Logan Brothers of Devonport, Auckland in 1904, but reported by Mike Subritzky in his book Subritzky Shipping as Bailey and Lowe of Auckland in 1913. Eva's construction was in the unique Logan style with a triple planking diagonal monocoque hull. The construction did away with conventional internal frames and relied on the excellent quality of New Zealand's native Kauri timber.


Length:     56.2 feet

Beam:     14 feet

Draft:     5.75 feet

Displacement:     35.41 tons gross, 13.23 net.

Propulsion:     Single three cylinder, 120 brake horsepower Dorman engine. The cylinder heads were at eye level and it ran on Paraffin, but to start it up, it was necessary to release the compression on two cylinders and fire it up with some Petrol. Later re-powered with two 8 cylinder Gardiner diesel engines.

Official number:     133290


1936 - 1954     Owned by the J. J. Craig Line Ltd. of Auckland.

1943 - 1944     In the command of Captain Hayward Subritzky (right), his nephew 'Bert' Herbert Walter Subritzky was the engineer.

1963     Displacement altered to 29.58 tons gross.

1970 - 1973     Owned by Marcus Castell and berthed in Auckland's Western Viaduct Basin.

1983     Name changed to Ngahina.

1985     Name changed to Lady Eva.

1993     Operating as a Tug for the Subritzky Shipping Line of Auckland.

There is a Lady Eva Cup annually awarded by the Kohimarama Yacht Club of Auckland.

LION'S WHELP     1628 three-masted pinnace

The Lion's Whelp of 1628 was built at the Duke of Buckingham's expense by William Castell of St. Saviour's, Southwark in 1628 and was used to prey on French shipping (with the proceeds going to the Duke's war-chest) before joining the rest of the English fleet for the final attempt to relieve the siege of La Rochelle. She was taken into the Royal Navy after the Duke was assassinated and in 1632 the Crown reimbursed his estate.

Lion's Whelp was a three-masted pinnace of about 140 tons, having one gun deck with a grating or flying deck over the waist and eight broadside gun ports. She was equipped with sweeps (3-man oars, like a galley) and was part of a line of auxiliary-oared warships running from Henry VIII's time to the "Galley Frigates" of Charles II's reign.

MONICA II     1909 steam ship


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The Monica was built at Lyttelton in 1909 and is the last surviving Banks Peninsula steamer. She was later converted to diesel engines and worked as an Oyster boat out of the port of Bluff, where she is now preserved.


Steven McLachlan

OCEAN BIRD     Schooner

1872     Purchased by the Anchor Line

1872     April 17     The schooner Ocean Bird with a crew of three had sailed from Lyttelton, and five days later she was sighted by the Master of the Emerald floating bottom up about ten miles west of Stephen Island with no sign of her crew. When news of this reached Nelson it was decided to despatch the paddle steamer Lyttelton to search for the derelict which was found near Farewell Spit on 2 May. The attempt to tow the Ocean Bird to Nelson had to be abandoned on account of heavy weather, but the Lyttelton's skipper managed to anchor the derelict in Port Hardy before he had to leave her.

When the weather cleared the Lyttelton, accompanied by the Charles Edward, returned to Port Hardy only to find that the schooner had drifted some seven miles. They towed her to Nelson, where she was righted, repaired, and put into commission sailing under the Anchor flag. On 26 November 1872 the local newspaper reported: "The Ocean Bird took her departure from this port for Blenheim on Saturday last. This handsome little vessel has been thoroughly overhauled; with new masts, sails and rigging and altogether looked a smart little vessel as she left the wharf."

1885     Sold to a Lyttelton syndicate.

1905     Jan 1     Blown up during the New Year's Day Regatta

ORION     1935 Passenger Liner

1935     November     Maiden voyage.

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Souvenir bookmark from the maiden voyage.

Pipitea wharf, Wellington, 31 October 1936.


Phil Cousins

RANGATIRA     1863 Steamer


Displacement: 239 tons gross and 196 tons net
Propulsion: two 65 h.p. steam engines.
Length: 144.8 feet
Beam: 20.6 feet
Draught: 9.7 feet
Registered number: 45951


1863     Built of iron at Dundee for the New Zealand Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.

1863     March 23     Steamship Rangatira of SYDNEY, BENJAMIN PADDLE, MASTER, BURTHEN 382 TONS, from the port of MELBOURNE to SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES.

1864     Private Philip Simcox of the 90th Regiment; (aka SINCROIX or ST CROIX) to South Australia in 1864 per Rangatira with his wife aged 28.

1872     October     George Summers Barlow arrived in New Zealand on the ship Ballarat at the first port of call; Napier, he then transported on steamer Rangatira landing at Auckland.

1876     New Zealand's first large steamship company, the short-lived New Zealand Steam Navigation Co. was absorbed by the new Union Steamship Company.

1879     Charles Evans, master of the Rangatira.

1880     September 7     While on her passage from Manukau to New Plymouth, with passengers and mail, the steamer ran ashore near Bell Block, on the Taranaki coast, early on the morning of 7 September 1880, and became a total wreck. The master, Captain Edward Harvey, was on deck at 1 a.m.; it was a fine clear night, and no special danger being apprehended, he left the mate in charge of the bridge. At 2 a.m., the master and passengers, numbering eight, were awakened by a slight shock, followed by a second one. The captain was on deck a few seconds after the first shock, and while realising the danger to his ship, was unable to prevent the disaster. It was then found that the Rangatira was hard and fast on the reef known as Pefferie's Fishing Nook, about two miles north of New Plymouth. The engines were unworkable, and the steamer was caught in the rocks as though in a vice. The water making an appearance in the compartments, the boats were lowered and the passengers and mail taken ashore. At 10 a.m. the same day, the water was washing over the steamer, and the master was compelled to abandon her. The Rangatira soon commenced to break up and the hull was sold by auction.

The Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Rangatira found that no blame was attached to the engineer or the second officer, but that the master was culpable in not having kept a proper lookout, and neglecting to use the log, but the negligence was not sufficient to warrant the suspension of his certificate. The chief officer was most to blame, and the court considered him guilty of gross carelessness, as he must have seen not only the New Plymouth light, but also the light of the Government steamer Hinemoa, then lying in the roadstead. The chief officer's certificate was suspended for six months.


Ingram, C. W. N.
New Zealand Shipwrecks 1875 - 1975
Page 198.


Scott Bennett

SUMATRA     1938 engines-aft coaster


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Sumatra was a typical pre-war Dutch coaster, which found her way to New Zealand in 1953 and somehow kept her original name through several owners over 38 years.


Length:     143 feet, 6 inches

Beam:     24 feet, 1 inch

Displacement:     345 gross registered tons.


1938     January 22     Launched by Scheepswerf Foxhol, Foxhol, Netherlands under yard number 101

1938     April 11     Completed and hand over to her owner; W. J. Kramer of Groningen.

1951     Owned by Gebr. van Diepen, Waterhuizen

1952     Owned by Express NV, Delfzijl

1953     Owned by Cement Freighters Ltd., New Zealand

1960     Captain L. C. Boulton (formerly master of the Maui Pomare) was in command of the Sumatra when she towed the Auckland harbour ferry Ewen Alison to Hobart in 1960.

1961     Owned by Hobart Transport Commission

1968     Owned by Pen Pak Distribution, Hobart

1971     Owned by Pen Pak Ocean Products Ltd., Hobart

1977     Marine News of June and September 1977 reported that she was scuttled off Cairns, Queensland on 15/9/1976 in position 16° 41" South, 146° 21" East.


Rosemary Deane, George Robinson and Roel Zwama


Steam launch operated in and out of Lyttelton Harbour.

Down the Bay by F.H. McCluskey, dealing with Otago Harbour shipping, records a Waiwera. In 1910 the Miller Brothers of Port Chalmers launched a passenger boat to operate on the Taeri River between Henley and the Taeri Mouth for Amos McKegg. The boat had been designed by W. Cullen of Dunedin who, 26 years previously had also drawn up the plans of her predecessor, the Waiwera.

Circa 1980
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Thanks to James Turner, Steven McLachlan and Marcus Castell.

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