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This page was last updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 01:00:11 AM

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Welcome: Because of the amount of comments, support and input from members of the public having the total archive of comments on one page is now impractical. We have now separated the comments by year. 
If this is your first visit to the site I strongly recommend that you start from the beginning  (1999) as there are some great stories and links.

Comments for the year 2010

Email / Date

Hi guys! happy new year to all! I was with Federal steam/nzsc for a while in the mid  60s. I started as stwds/boy on the Middlesex, Rangitoto, engineers stwd on the Surrey and did the final trip on the Remuera as asst. baker! I also sailed on the Braemar Castle, Auckland Star and Port Wellington. I came from Gillingham, Kent originally, but have lived in oz for 43 years.
Roger Sharplin


I served on the m.v. Northumberland as j.o.s. & s.o.s. 1961 - 1962 this ship is not listed although the old Northumberland is, I think the latter came to grief in Napier after an earthquake.
regards Roy (Speady) Spencer

G'day, I am looking for information on the M.V. Kaimata (NZ Shipping Company)1931-1969. What I need in the log book pages from the 1st March 1941 to the 31st March 1941, specifically the lat/long of an incident 7th March at about sunset north Atlantic. The log book page will confirm a theory I have on the sinking of a German U-boat, U-47 which went missing on the 7th March 1941. I have newspaper articles from Halifax and New York of the day with photo's of the damage to the bow of the M.V. Kaimata dated 14th March 1941.If you can assist with this project I would be very happy.
Donald Scott 


My first trip on the Sussex as 2/RO in 1961 was eventful. The 7eng blacked the eye of the 2nd and was sent home DBS. Stowaway landed at Panama and we were in collision with the SA Morgenster when clearing Avonmouth docks. Capt Ramsay,2/O Tony Jackson 3/O Peter Davies.
Gordon Gray

As a 6 year old, I sailed with my mother on the Rangitiki from New York, arriving in Liverpool 12 Dec., 1944. On the way we had to stop in Halifax for repairs. I have some memories of the voyage. Does anyone know about those repairs, and the events of that particular crossing? Thank you, Willis Fagan


The Buckinghamshire arrived at Port Chalmers 1874 11 march. It only visited NZ the once
Robin Duncan

I worked for the NZSC from 1954-1964. The ships I sailed on were as follows...

Rangitata Sept 54-Oct 55 4th/3rd 'leccy
MV Surrey Nov 55-Jun 56 2nd 'leccy
SS Dorset Jul 56-Dec 56 2nd 'leccy
Ruahine Jul 57-Jul58 2nd 'leccy
SS Pipiriki Oct 58-Oct 60 Chief 'leccy
Huntingdon Dec 60-Mar 63 Chief 'leccy
Rakaia Jul 63-Apr 64 Chief 'leccy

Does anyone have contact details for Dave Carpenter, an engineer who sailed on the Rakaia 1963-64?The old email address I have for him (that is also posted on this site in the comments archive 2005) doesn't work anymore. Would also be interested in hearing from anyone else who was on the Rakaia at the same time, especially Dave & Brian (can't remember surnames... they know who they are!)

Ray Pethick 


Would love to learn more about M V Durhan circa 1953 Captain? Crew? anyone heard of Felix John Lennon? Mysterious death on board! Peter A. Forster

Editor: Inspector Clouseau mystery


I did one trip as 7th Engineer on the Devon from Liverpool Dec 1965 to Aussie New Zealand via Suez, return via Panama. I would like to get a copy of the ships log if possible and details of her life after I left. Michael Riley


Approximately in November 1955 my mother Murial Abbott and myself sailed from Tilbury Docks on the Rangitoto to Wellington, New Zealand to join my father Frederick Thomas Abbot who had sailed earlier that year to join the NZ Army. As I was only an 8 year old boy at the time I can only remember the good times but not the dates of departure and arrival, if anybody has them that would be great. Kind Regards Colin Abbott


Good news my old shipmate Ray Pethick has made contact, he found me though Alex Henderson whom i also found on this brilliant web site. I have put him in touch with Brian (The Bear) Anderson whom i will be seeing at the Durham Association Ladies lunch at Liverpools maritime museum in April. This is my current e-mail address. Dave Carpenter (Engineer NZSC 1960-64)


Great site, had no idea there was such a website!! I sailed on Huntingdon, Sussex, Haparangi, Hertford, Hurunui, Rakaia and Cumberland 1968-72. I'm currently working around the Australian NW shelf in the oil and gas industry. Robbie Lee

Hi Jeff  Thanks for the update!

Its good to see all the old 'Shell Backs' coming out of the woodwork! Without your website most of us would still be be confined to the bilges. I have just posted my application to become a member of NZSC Asso so hopefully i will be able to keep in touch with more of the lads that i sailed with.

I thought i would take this opportunity to to let you know about my latest book which is in the process of being typeset, Its about my time as an engineer with the NZSC in the early 1960's, It will probably be called 'Engineers & Other People'

I will send you a copy once i get it printed if its ok with you, perhaps you would review it for Association members. It follows my previous book  'Dockland Apprentice' which has proved to be very popular.

Kind Regards Dave Carpenter

Editor Still waiting on the Dockland Apprentice .. !!! The most blanton self promotion i have come across Dave, you would have to be related to Arthur Daley from Minder.
For those reading i put Dave self promotion up on the History section simply because its about NZSC
I get so many people trying to flog a product that they nicked or found in some trunk or draw "hello" or seeking passenger lists for family trees, interestingly enough the new buzz word is doing an autobiography. Dave with all his bravado was doing something about keeping the History going.



Hi Jeff, Great web site. An old shipmate made contact with me Re M.V. Northumberland 1961-1962 If anyone out there knows of Jack Taylor who was captains tiger at that time please get in touch. Regards Roy (speedy)

Just been on a site that is about the good old days of the Merchant Navy and P&O saw the ships you have on i also did the Taupo, that was my first trip in April 1975 when she left Avonmouth for South Africa, Tasmania, and home to Liverpool, Oh Happy Days

Do you remember a cook called George Dally?, Lots of great people , my first trip to sea was some experience, spent 9 years with P&O, best time of my career, spent a total of 16 Years in the M.N, finally ended my sea life with R.F.A ,what a difference from the kiwi run and the good old ship molls, you try to tell people what those days were like, but nobody can fully understand the laughs and brilliant mates you made at sea. I finally left the sea in 1991

But still yearn for those days back again.

Anyway if something jogs your memory please get in touch, your name just sounds familiar.
Names that might ring a bell Larry the Lamb, Eric the Red, cant think now of other names,                

Kind regards   Terry Quigley



Hi Jeff

Reading through the Archives I was surprised that as far as I could see there was no mention of the 1956 Suez War and the closure of the Canal. At the time I was 2nd Electrician on the ss Dorset. We had just left Liverpool on route to Australia via the canal when we were diverted to South Africa -Capetown. We bunkered there and then onward to Fremantle - a long voyage. There must be some interesting experiences of contributors and others of ships that were just about to enter the Canal from either end. Of course the canal was again closed from 1967 to 1975 due to the Arab Israeli War.

Another time in history that hasn't been mentioned in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. I was Chief Electrician on the MV Huntingdon berthed at Savannah. I remember how tense and jumpy the stevedores were. No wonder, as I believe there was a ballistic missile site just fifty miles from the port! On leaving Savannah on route to Curacao for bunkering we were buzzed by American fighter planes and intercepted by American destroyers requesting to know our destination and cargo. Frightening times - the world was on the brink of a Nuclear Holocaust.

On a lighter note if it hadn't been for conscription (National Service) which was in force until 1960 I would have been a landlubber. At this time you had a choice of 2 years in the Armed Forces or I believe 3 or 5 years in the Merchant Navy, I forget which. I wonder how many others started their seagoing careers this way?

Hope you find my comments of interest. At least it gives a little background to what was happening in the late fifties and early sixties.

Best Regards, Ray Pethick

P.S. Are you interested in photographs of Senior Deck and Engineering Officers which were taken prior to each voyage?

Editor: Yep, if you scan and save in Jpeg and email to me i will create a sub section within Photos


Trying to contact any one who sailed on the Whakatane between 1961 to 1963, I was the junior engineer. Jim Hayes

Editor: Jimmy your Email address was rejected.


Sailed for 2 years, stayed for ten. h boats wild boats strath boats, good hard years, remember them ,we were lucky l Paul Jorgensen

Hi Jeff, Do you know if any merchant ships from Australia or NZ ever called into Subic Bay, Philippines in the 60's and 70's Regards John Marlow

Editor: Both are US Military Installations it would be vary rare for a merchant vessel to call at these facilities unless seconded by the US defense forces. It's traditionally accepted that you have to be American Flag  Registered Vessel to call. Perhaps under the ANZUS treaty applying at the time boats from Australia & New Zealand were permitted access provided they had US officers or crew onboard.
Someone is bound to know John.
Editor: Just received Ray Pethick's photos today of the Dorset, Huntingdon, Pipiriki, Rakaia, Surrey and have loaded them into the Photo section and acknowledged Ray's contribution as i do for anybody who freely shares their insights. 15.03.10
Editor: Received in the mail today, Dave Carpenter book "Dockland Apprentice"
Appreciate the time taken Dave

I would like to know what happened to my great uncle Norman Grant born West Ham London 1885. He was a 5th Engineer and Electrician on the Hororata during the 1920's.I have found several entries of Norman arriving at New York, Sydney and  Wellington. His crew number was 106035. John Grant

Hi Jeffrey I've been busy since retirement three years ago and have not visited your grand website for a couple of years. So glad to see that she's still sailing along at full speed.
In gathering material for my website, I have acquired a copy of the 1948 edition of "The Carriage of Cargo in the Vessels of The New Zealand Shipping Company, Ltd. and Federal Steam Navigation Company, Ltd." Inside is an original letter to Mr. T.S. Wadie, Fourth Officer, s.s. "RimutakaI" dated January 1949, written when the book was issued.

This volume is a mine of information, pictures and plans regarding the handling and stowage of various kinds of cargo, the likely ports of call visited in those years, and plans of the ships of the two companies' ships fleets from "Cornwall" through "Tongariro".

I would be happy to send scans of these single sheet drawings to anyone who cares to ask me through my email address. Best regards, Richard Overall


Hello to all those Ex Merchant Seaman out there.

I am looking for crew members who knew a Ron Paul who was working as a Pantryman on the ships Rangitoto- Ruahine- Haparangi he also worked on one the Orient liners (further back) At that time there was a murder on board I can recall him telling me I cant think of the name of the ship but at a guess it may have been the Oriana?

He came from Leigh-On Sea Essex and was on board these ships between 1950 to 1954. The last ship he was on was the Haparangi when he jumped ship in Wellington and got caught in 1956.

It was around the time of a well known Detective Bird (who all the Merchant Guys had heard of in Auckland New Zealand) He used to look for all those who Jumped Ship

Ron now resides in New Zealand and would like to hear from anyone who knew him he is now in his 70`s.

I married him, we have four grown Children 3 boys and a daughter who all have children of their own He was very friendly with a Bert Flasket, who lived in Kent was at sea with him whom he would like to hear from.

Would be grateful for any information from those who knew him. Cheers Beverly Paul



I was a "War Baby" and sailed with my "War Bride" Mother on RMS Rangitata in March 1946 from London's Tilbury Dock to Melbourne, Australia. My Father was a RAAF pilot attached to the RAF and returned to Australia separately on a troopship. Mum is still living (93) and remembers being very sea-sick on the trip, made worse by having a crying baby to attend to. From time to time I've had to give details of the ship's name to the Government for passport, security, etc.

Adrian Heinrich


Hi Jeff, Was browsing through your web sites, see that NZ Shipping had a ship called Opawa. I was on the P &* O tanker Opawa for 9 months - heap of shit, steaming at 5 knots between Ras Tanura, Kobe and Capetown, all Indian officers and crew, before Bollywood. Regards David Shaw

I sailed as Engineer on Huruni, Hinakura,Turakina between 1968 and 1970 if there is anyone who reads this and remembers me and would like to get in touch it would be great to hear from you.

I'm trying to find details of Andy Cunningham we think he was a Bosum on the Rangitani and the Rangitoto between 1966 to 1968 he was known as big Andy from Scotland sadly he died a few months ago in London he is being cremated on 25th of May in Honour Oak London we would love to contact anyone who knew him as we cannot trace his family Jean Kerr


Sailed on the Otaki and Cumberland as Engineer,last trip was a MANZ run  1971,live in Amsterdam, still keeping ships afloat mostly Splithoff (dutch company). Thank you  Mr Shaw, amazing site, wishing you and old mates good health and many five to sixes in  Kiwi. Regards James Pugh (scouser)
Editor: Makes it worth while when you get a thank you.

I am transcribing my grandmothers diary of a  journey at the tender age of 19 years to the UK on RMS Kaikoura in January 1896. It is literally a day by day account of over 200 handwritten pages.Ian Packwood

I am seeking specific information on a route. Ship SS Rotorua - Wellington to London - Captain J A Sutcliffe. Vessel arrived London 20/10/1915. I need to know (if possible) what date the ship departed Australia and more importantly from which Port (Sydney or Brisbane). Secondly, the ship travelled via Capetown so I would also appreciate arrival and departure that Port. Further, would there have been any other Port of Call on that specific voyage bearing in mind the war was on. Your answers would be most appreciated. However if you don't have the data, can you point me towards someone who might assist. Peter Platt



A cup found on the wreck by a diver on his 1st sea dive has the following makers marks on the bottom ' Wedgwood of Etruria & Barlaston' 'Made in England' 'Specially made for the New Zealand Shipping Co Ltd' Wedgwood Barlaston factory opened in 1940 and the Eturia factory closed in 1950. The cup was therefore made from 1940 to 1950 and the wreck is probably a WW2 casualty However I'm unable to find any 'missing ship' from either the New Zealand or Federal lines that could have been lost in the English channel in WW2 EXCEPT The Huntingdon OR Somerset. Information on the wreck is very sketchy only that it was found in 1957. I can e-mail you photos of the cup. Any help appreciated on the loss of the 2 ships or when the cup may have been in use . David Ronnan


I was looking at the photo page and notice that you did not have a photo of the Rangitoto, if you would like some I sailed on her and have some photos John Wallace
Editor .. Yes please


A few words written to commemorate the 50th.Aniversary of the M.V.Otaio's maiden voyage in 1958. A reunion was held at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, 13th.June 2008. Several cadets who sailed on voyage No.1 as well as others from later trips were present with their wives; 80 people in all.

Two Years Ago
Sun rose early today
Before six o’clock
The brightening sky
Brought alto cirrus
Clouds and blue.

I met the butcher
And the baker.
No candlestick maker.
Tomorrow is the day
When blood is given
It says on the baguette’s
Wrapping paper
I’m too old

Mike who sells meat
Always has a smile
A friendly word
A football fan

From Valenciennes
I bumped into
Mr.Phan there
My chemist
We shook hands
Exchanged greetings
He’s hard to understand

My life started
A wriggling tail and head
Midst million others
Seeking warmth
Of my mother’s womb
In Capetown
I bore my father’s genes
And what else ?
Was I wished for ?
I’ll never know

My birth far From the tropic
Of Capricorn conceived
First grandchild
Of our family
I saw my father
When eight month’s old
Cape of Good Hope
What was the meaning
Of one year apart ?
I’ll never know

I had a sister
She suffered for
Twenty two years
Meeting Our maker
At sixty two
We loved being
Under the southern sun
Of the Cape
The grim north east
How I miss her

Two year’s ago
We met
A day brimming
With happiness
Remembering times spent
At sea
And each other
I thought of her
A lot that day
Of her birth
Where she’s now
I’ll never know

How I wish
That you and I
Sitting quietly
At peace
Could yarn and
Think deeply of
Our lives
Mine has been
A treasure trove
How long is left
Until departure
I’ll never know

Harry Simpson 13th.June 2010.
Editor: Harry and i have been corresponding about his poems. I have asked him to go through all his poems and pick out all the ones with a nautical flavour and i will set up a separate section.


Bonjour Jeff, Hiya mate,

First of all my gratitude for publishing on your site the account of the Otaio's 50th. anniversary reunion that I organised in 2008 and the lines I wrote recently two years after the event. I fully realise that the site is a vehicle for ex NZSCo seamen and their families to find data about past events and the history of yesteryear.
I'm 70 and six years ago was afflicted with Parkinson's disease. This drastically changed my lifestyle. I spend much more time on my computer these days, physical efforts being out of the question. A year ago I started composing poems, both in prose and in rhyme. To date I have fifty. Written about everything that life throws at us.
At a recent cocktail do in Marseille I met the famous French poet Yves Broussard. He is a direct descendant of Edmond Rostand. Yves was awarded the Guillaume Apollinaire prize for poetry in 1987. Something like the Goncort prize for literature. He likes my stuff and is having it translated into French by another poet friend of his who has a Masters degree in English.
Whereas I started writing as a therapy things may have taken another turn.
I'm waiting for later in the day to contact Peter Lloyd who took the photo of the Otaio at Borthwicks.We are both members of the Durham Association.

Finally; I would like to thank you for your words of wisdom and I'll come back

Cheers, Harry



I and and my parents, George James Warren and Dorothy Agnes Warren sailed out to NZ in late 1939 - from Liverpool to Auckland via Panama on the Port Huon. We then travelled down to our destination, Christchurch by train and then, ferry from Wellington to Ch Ch. We stayed about six years in Ch Ch - I went to school there - Linwood North and then Cathedral Grammar School - H.A.H. Insull was the headmaster. My Father was an industrial chemist and worked for A.C. Nottingham and Co, Ltd. - chemical and insecticide producers, among other things. We were very friendly with the Nottingham, Gambles, Williams and Orchard families in Christchurch at that time but sadly lost contact after we returned to the UK - life was a bit chaotic in the UK for many years! We returned to the UK on the N.Z.S.Co. liner, Rimutaka. Sailing from Wellington to Panama and then on to Cuba Jamaica, New York and finally Wellington. Berthing there as I remember it, on Friday 13th April. The Rimuta!ka carried the Duke of Gloucester and his family and entourage out to Australia and we joined her in Wellington for the return journey to UK. The ship had a 6 in. gun mounted astern and carried paravanes and other equipment, I remember. If all of this rings a bell with any readers, please send me an e-mail. It would be super to re-contact any old friends and possibly meet up. Brian Warren  


Editor: Just loaded John Wallace's photos of the Rangitoto, Hauraki, Remuera, Ruahine, Rangitata (shows the 1st Class Dining, Saloon, Cabins, Smoking rooms) You will have to go to the Photo section and click the vessels concerned. Thank you John very much appreciated.

John has also sent me a ships voyage program. Now I am under decided whether to scan and save as a PDF for you to download or simply load the photos. I have uploaded on a test page but the writing appears to have a haze around the print perhaps because of the scanning resolution so that's why i am under decided. Click Port Calls and have a look and let me know


I was hairdresser on the M.V.Ruahine from 1957 to 1958, doing 3 voyages. I was 18 and it was my first time away from home, and on the first trip we spent Christmas in Wellington which was very strange because it was mid summer. I often think about those days and if any of the old crew are still about, I am 71 this year. While I was on the ship the shop manager was Jimmy Snailham he was from Paisley. I am not good at remembering names but I was friendly with the printer who was from London, as you know the printers were all called "inky" the chef was Don Oxley, there was quite an elderly chief stewardess she had been at sea many years also Mrs Trudgett quite a formidable lady, Molly, and the children's nurse who's name I cant remember was also on her first trip to sea, I had some good friends on board and was made to feel at ease but at 18 it was quite different from living at home. It would be nice if anyone could get in touch, I do have some old black and white photos with some of the crew on board and in New Zealand. Duncan Saunders
Editor: Yes please.


What a great site, I found it whilst looking for information on the s.s.Samesk Ex Leceister.I sailed on her August 1956 - February 1957 when she was the S.S. Inagua as an assistant steward. I also did a trip on the Rangitiki April1955 - August1955 as a table steward.


Hi Jeff. Here are the pictures as promised, hope you can do something with them, they were all taken with a box Brownie lol so make allowances. The colour one of Ruahine in Wellington with Mount Victoria is a classic one you probably have, I think all the ships were photographed in the same position. I included the 2 of Pitcairn Islanders leaving the ship because that for me was always a highlight of the voyage when we used to stop there and they came on board and traded their wares and spent money in the ships shop. The last voyage I did was the captains last trip on the Ruahine arriving back in London Dec 1958 and the Pitcairn Islanders did a show in the main lounge in honour of the captain and they left the ship in the dark with the lights on their boats reflecting on the water it was quite a sight and of course they had to row the boats no outboards.

Anyway Jeff hope you can do something with the pictures and if you want to know anything else please ask. Cheers. Duncan
Editor: All photos have been loaded up on the Ruahine (you will have to go to the Photo section)
All Photos are in black and white bar one. I appreciate your efforts


Third generation M.N. I sailed to the "Land of the long white cloud" on the M/V Cumberland 1956 and the Port Victor in 1957. Would like to make contact with any members of the crew. What a fabulous website... best to all hands, Pete Lindstrom

I have just discovered this great site. I am delighted by the photos of "Rangitata"  as I came to New Zealand, on her with my parents and brother as an eight year old. We left Southampton on 13 June 1952, arriving Wellington 16 July. We travelled First class - Cabins B 15 & 16, not by choice but because that was what was offered and I understand there were waiting lists at the time. I have the passenger list for that voyage tucked away somewhere. I am currently taking a creative writing course at Canterbury University entitled Migration and  Identity, which has sparked my interest in that period of my life. Christine Birt
Editor: Please scan the passenger list and have it on standby for future requests


Very interesting reading ,loved some comments and the photos. Will now see if i can dig mine up and send you copies if i can load them up. Started 1967 on Paparoa, Haparangi, Ruahine, Piako, Cumberland, Tongario, last ship Nottingham. Still working in industry for Sydney Ports Corp in Port Botany Michael Gartenfeld


Great site was with nzsco from 1969, first ship Paparoa, till the end when it went Pentmarine
Mick Styles (hoss)
Editor: Converted all the pages to 12 point font, should make it easier to read. 31.08.10

I sailed on the Rangitane 1963/64 as asst steward and met a girl named Marjorie Moore who was a passenger on one of my tables from Christchurch to Tilbury. We got to know each other and wrote letters for over 1 year after, however lost contact. I am now 65 and would love to make contact just to say 'hello how are you after almost 50 years'. Please call if anyone remembers anything at all. Thanks so much. John Byrne

We send best wishes to all in Christchurch and surrounding districts which have been hit by the earthquake, Scotland sends our deepest sympathies and hope Christchurch will flourish again Archie Clark
Editor: Our Christchurch agents advised this morning (Tuesday 7th September) that Lyttelton is up and running

Sailed on TSS Hororata from 1955 till 1958 as 10th/9th/7th/and 5th engineer, but left the company when I met my wife while studying for my seconds ticket, In South Shields. Sent the company my resignation only to receive an offer of promotion to 3rd engineer on the Tacoa. Did I do the right thing? I wonder if my old friend Ted Klotz might look at this. Best wishes to all I knew while on the Hororata Hope you are all still alive and well. Arthur/Chic/Robinson 


Taupo, Tekoa and Tongariro had a sister vessel not mentioned in your list. She was the Westmorland which was owned/run by Federal steam. I sailed on her in 1974/1975 when she sailed under the P&O GCD colours. I also notice you do not have some of the 'Wild' boats such as Wild Cormorant and Wild Curlew which both had Fed steam funnels when they first came out. Edwin Jennings
The Westmoreland got a jersey for been lost during WW2 (1942). If you have any photos or stories on this vessel or any other please feel free to share.


Joined P&O GCD from 1974-1984. Joined mv Mataura then Strathleven [ex Middlesex] and Taupo. Returned to Mataura and was renamed Wild Mallard and did a further 4 trips on her. Other vessels included Wild Avocet [x2], Wild Fulmar [x2], Wild Curlew and finally Strathconon [container]. I was known as Wildboat Bob,[engineer]. Great times Robert Stephenson

I have read all the comments with great interest and the photo's are a memory of a world bygone. My grandfather worked for the NZSCo in the 50's/60's. Does anyone remember him ... Jim McEachran from Greenock he was a chippie, it would be good if anyone has photo's of him as he is no longer with us. I lived in NZ for a while in the 90's and took his company flag and raised it over my house in Opua and someone saw it and came and had pictures with him in them. Sorry for the intrusion folks, you guys are lucky to have a brilliant site that reflects your camaraderie... Gordon McEachran



Hi Guys, I worked by on the Hororata in Falmouth from July 66 till Oct 66 then went deep sea round the continent and on through suez to New Zealand for 3 months. We arrived back in Liverpool in April 67, i think she then went on to the breakers yard. Colin Hall

Great site ! I was a deck cadet on Rakaia from '63 for 5 voyages, then Surrey, and joined Taupo for her maiden voyage. Been in touch with some old pals, but not Aussie - know his whereabouts ? (Introduced me to Bob Dylan, and gin !).
Memories include running aground in Nelson, partying at NZ PM residence in Hutt valley, being in Philadelphia when Kennedy was shot, two double-headers ( which helped me decide to change careers !), Bluff oysters, Kiwi nurses, independence in Barbados, red-leading the NZ navy ship in Auckland from our whaler, but most of all, some super guys. Anyone remember me ? Don Grant


Dear Jeff, In response to the Email back on the 06.02.07 from I sailed with Fred on Mv Haparangi, and worked with Jack in Liverpool in the 196o at L Sterne @ Co Duke St. Les Bowcock

I have a post card of ss Hororata. I think my uncle Kenneth Patch was a librarian on a NZ ship during the 20/30s and wonder if this was the one he was on. He came from Bristol so the ship he was on probably docked there. It would be interesting to know. Sue Wilson

Hi there, I have an unusual request regarding the history of a NZ shipping vessel called the Hauraki. I am researching one of two paintings by Richard Young for a post-grad assignment at Vic Uni.

It features this ship in the background, however, in the foreground there are a number of cartoonlike bunnies (one wearing a captains hat) waving a 'Hauraki bunny' flag, and an owl in a sort of admirals (?) uniform. I have no idea what these may signify or tell us about the shipping industry or vessel itself (if anything at all) but was wondering if this sparks anything with you that could be of help.

I have been unable to find out anything about the artist but the paintings were donated to the Museum of Wellington some time ago in a large lot of objects. I could email you a photograph of the painting if this would help!

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time, Katrina McLennan


I sailed on the Papanui and done 3 trips. On my First trip we had picked up deck cargo in hull. during our trip we hit really bad weather and lost some over board we were listing badly till the deck hands got it sorted out thank god. we had some good times ,the lads made a long bench on deck which we had many a good sing song. one of the lads had a sea shanty song book. a good few beers were downed on those hot nights, till the skipper reduced our beer ration, so we had to save it up for one night a week. good times and a good crowed of lads. I also sailed on a tanker (federal line )MV Derby beautiful ship air con and swimming pool, It only ever done 6 week trips until I sailed on her 4or5 months later we came home, still a good trip. Andy Gow


I sailed on Rangitoto last trip 1969 as 10th engineer. My only trip at sea. One day after leaving Auckland 2200 hrs a loud bang and engines stopped. a palm bolt had broken and a piston almost fell out of the cylinder. we came back to London on 11 cylinders. Ship then sold to the Chinese. Ronnie Gentle

Dear all what a great sight, my first time on it enjoyed reading all letters ,i myself went to sea 1966/79 i was on 6 nz ships from deck boy -able seaman .i was on the Pipiriki when we had to sail her to wellington dry dock using the tarps from hatches good fun anyone know me please get in touch. Raymond Hayball


Just found the site, excellent work.

My first trip to sea was on the Piako, two trips deck boy, then the Otaki, got the sack, went to Shaw Savill and Blue Star and last and definitely least was the Port Wellington [too many companies men on that outfit] Five years later joined the Devon in Glasgow [they had forgiven me by then!!!] Came to Kiwi transferred to the best ship ever the Turakina, did two years on her, Japan run and latterly the states, transferred to the Cumberland after my time was up, in Wellington, jumped her in Lyttelton, got deported d.b.s six months later on the Dorset, flew back to Kiwi end of sea going career twenty eight years on the Lyttelton tugs, and am now working part time doing lots. If anyone remembers me and I don't owe them any money!! it would be great to hear from you. Kind regards Sandy McClure

Editor: So refreshing to hear an open and honest account of one's life.


Served with NZS from 1959 to 1964. 4th, 3rd Officer on 'Otaio' from 1959 to 1962. 2nd Officer on 'Kent' from 1962 to 1964.  Stewart Dowse

Hi Jeff, hope you do not mind me sending these photos from federal steam navigation (nz shipping co) enjoy looking at your web site every day.
Cheers Archie

Editor: Appreciate the time taken Archie. I have loaded you photos into the Essex photo folder

I was a passenger on the Rangitoto when i was 7 year old, along with my sister (9) and Mother Daphne Hale. From Wellington, we went to Southampton via Tahiti, Panama Canal and Bermuda. Dad, an ex Japanese POW caught a plane and met us in Southampton on his lifetime trip to introduce us to his family.

Thank you to all staff for a lifetime adventure; particularly to Harry who was allotted our cabin  (he was 19), and who played 'hide the toy turtle' in the cabin with us, and went beyond the  call of duty for his two little sea mates; also the Chief Purser, who had a parrot in his cabin and the rest of the crew who adopted us as 'honorary' crew members and hid my sister and I under the tables so we could watch the grown-ups fancy dress. I remember going to sleep secure in the steady rhythm of the ship's engines. We returned on the Canberra, but the Rangitoto had true spirit. The family always wondered what happened to Harry; I believe it may have been his last trip on the Rangitoto. I have a few photos and will scan them at a later date. My Dad, Mum, and sister have all since passed, so anyone with memories of that voyage; the whole ship suffered sea sickness across the first leg of the trip, and I believe there was a problem with a 'stabiliser' which, while not dangerous!, turned the swimming pool into a modern day wave pool. My Mum would take us up on deck to watch the waves to stop us from being seasick, along with the seasick tabs and we were okay.. Kristina Hale

Editor: What a great story


Attached is a photo of the "A Deck" Plate from the port side of the Rangitane obtained while on watch on our way home 8.12 watch May 1968 regards Bob Malcolm

Editor: Many thanks Bob, have loaded your photo onto the Rangitane photo page

Hi, Photo of OTAIO officers. George Carr
Editor: Hiya George, have placed your photo onto the Otaio photo page: thank you for sharing.

Anyone crew on the Ruahine, 1961/62? John (Inky) Logan, ship's printer

Where are you all? I have not heard a thing from anyone i knew in the early 1960,s! titch was my nickname as stwds/boy on the Middlesex in 1963. I was fresh out of the vindi! John Reid was ch.stwd, Peter Cook was 2nd/stwd other stwds were Dave Burke and eric Challinor. my details are in the first comment of the year. I am now 63,but remember it like it was yesterday. I just live quietly now with my wife of 26yrs near Adelaide. it would be nice to hear from some of my old shipmates! here's hoping! happy xmas and a safe new year to you all. Roger Sharplin



Hi Jeff. I got your email! what were you doing in Adelaide? just having a Stickybeak? what did you think of our city? interstate Aussies regard it as a backwater!! my cousin has just arrived for a holiday, from Gravesend, and she loves it! her sister lives here in a beachside suburb. I would not go back to England for quids! I have a black tray i bought on the Toto. on it are 4 gold etchings of the Toto, Tane, Ruahine and Remmy. it is still like new, and i treasure it! It brings back that many memories. like getting drunk in nicks bar in panama, having a punchup in Quinns bar in Tahiti [that was a rough joint!] and nights in some kiwi discos, like the Mexicali in Wellington or the Shiralee in Auckland. Heck! you can't buy memories like that! and to think that only six years later, i would be racing through the Aussie bush at breakneck speed, competing in the Australian rally championships! What a difference! Those were the days. does anyone remember mr.larsen? he was the ! squinty joker that was in the nzsc office in the dock! I would be glad to advise or assist any of you planning to visit Adelaide. just email me. It is the wifes pc! i use it to play poker on! she takes care of the emails etc. ok guys, maybe i will hear from someone now, apart from Jeff. take care all, Happy Christmas!!

Editor: Went to check out the port in particular the car ship terminal and the various bond stores and carriers who bring over our Adelaide LCL cargo over to our Melbourne bond store for export.


Hi Jeff, we got your email. it is a pity we did not catch up. you should have checked the telephone directory! we could have had a beer or two! maybe next time? I hope you enjoyed your short visit to our fair city. We have some world class wineries here. Jacobs Creek is only 50km from Adelaide city. Penfolds is even closer! [famous for their "Grange Hermitage" Shiraz. we have some nice wild life reserves with koalas, wombats, roos and emus galore. It is a great place to visit. Our beaches go for miles and our food is multicultural. I could not live back in England now! not enough room and too damn cold! i must say, i have a black and gilt tray I bought when I was on the Toto in 1964 [I did 2 trips], It has got four etchings in gold of the Toto, Tane, Remmy and Ruahine on it! it is still like new and always brings back memories for me! I had a ball! anyhow guys, if any of you are planning a visit to Adelaide, send me an email. i would be happy to help with info or perhaps accommodation or sightseeing at reasonable cost. Every little helps when you are miles from home. My wife is from Doncaster and knocks up some great tucker [food that is!!]. At least i can lessen your chances of getting ripped off. Ok guys, until i see you, ooroo! [goodbye Aussie slang!] take care and stay safe!

Roger Sharplin

Editor: You forgot to tell everybody how poor the state of South Australia is .. they can only afford a one way 3 lane freeway. They call themselves the Festival state so they go and build a new entertainment centre which is so small that none of the big acts will come to it. Ripped up the tram tracks to Port Adelaide and now decided they are going to put them back in. And the port itself is more in keeping with Newhaven in Sussex... Have I missed anything !!!

Its fair to say Adelaide is a laid back place more in keeping with the 60's where people actually talk to each other. For first time visitors I would start your visit by going to Mount Lofty lookout (charges A$2.00 for parking) this will give you a perspective of Adelaide. Then head off to Hahndorf, the German settlement this is a must do in particular "The Fairy Gardens".. If you are in the city head off to Cricket oval which is on the other side of the Torrens. After that I recommend you head to the Fleurieu Peninsula which is about 1 hour south of Adelaide:
You can drive your car onto Aldinga Beach and drive along untill you find a private spot for a picnic and surf fishing
You can purchase fresh farm food at the Willinga Country Markets.
You can buy lollys direct from the lolly factory at McLaren Vale and even get them coated in chocolate.
Places of interest include Victor Harbour, Goolwa, Hindmarsh Island, Normanville, Cape Jervis and take the ferry to Kangaroo Island.
The Lake Alexandrina cheese factory sells you an assortment of fresh cheese platters with a fresh teapot of early gray tea to go with it.
We went fishing on the Coorong "The mouth of the Murray river" and a couple of days later launched a boat off O'Sullivans Beach and went drift fishing off Glenelg Beach.
All good.



I was Engineer with NSZCo 1952 to 1960 and in the mid 50's 2nd Engr on Rakaia. Can anyone give me any details of the Rakaia Engine breakdown when she sailed jury rigged. i.e. Extent and cause of damage and which cylinder. Many thanks. Les Hawkin
Hi, Photos of the Essex and Rangitoto officers. George Carr

Editor: Hiya George, have placed your photos onto the Essex and Rangitoto photo page: thank you for sharing

Hi. My Dad is Eddie Bruce. He joined NZSCo in 1953 on board MV Rangatane as AB having served previously on the Ben Line. Over the following seven years my Dad sailed on the Glouster (Federal Steam Nav CO); Pipiriki; Dorset; Essex and the Otaki where he was a Lamp Trimmer then Bosun. He tells me he was the youngest Bosun in the NZSC. I would be pleased to hear from any old shipmates. Merry Christmas all.  Scott Bruce