Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Ngahuia (1940)

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19400117-46-4

The B class keeler Ngahuia was launched from the Auckland yards of Lidgard & Sons in 1939, for Tauranga based garage proprieter Frank Gresham. Gresham sailed her to Tauranga to complete her interior. In December 1939, Ngahuia participated in the Auckland to Tauranga race coming in second to the yacht Ngahau. She was 38ft long, with a beam of 10ft 3in, and a draught of 5ft 6in.

In the race to Tauranga the starters were Ranger, Restless, Ngahau and Ngahuia, a Tauranga yacht of a very handy size and good lines, which made a strong bid for the cup and at one part of the journey looked like winning it. Off Karewha Island she carried away her spinnaker boom. The veteran, Ngahau, 50 years old this month, made a great race of it against Messrs. Tercel brothers' hanger, built only 50 weeks ago, and from the seven-hour mark Ngahau won with just 45s to spare from Ngahuia.
Auckland Star, Volume LXX, Issue 308, 30 December 1939, Page 11

On January 12, Gresham and four others sailed from Tauranga to White Island in the Bay of Plenty the journey there and back to Tauranga had been without any incident. On the 13th they had again left Tauranga for White Island in what had been good sailing weather. On the return journey she hit rough weather. On the evening of January 13, Ngahuia ran into a storm with heavy seas. Gresham decided to try to head for Motiti Island to find shelter. The winds however had reached gale force, which prevented the vessel from reaching the island. An attempt was then made to go on to Mt Maunganui, but the force of the gale continued to frustrate any efforts to reach that location. The men on board Ngahuia had also tried to spot the seaward beacon on the Mount, but failed to do so and headed back out to sea once more in a fierce rain storm.

At 3 a.m., on the morning of January 14, Ngahuia ran aground on the shore of Matakana Island, 2 miles north of Mount Maunganui. Gresham the only survivor out of a crew of five had stated that 50 yards of boiling surf had lain between the crew and the safety of the nearby shoreline. Gresham had handed the four other members of his crew kapok mattresses, to use as floats after abandoning the vessel in the breakers.

Gresham had managed to swim to shore and then alert a nearby local resident who had sent for help. Search parties were sent out to find the four missing crew, but only the kapok mattresses they had used to keep afloat in the water were later found washed up on the beach.

It is feared that four men lost their lives when the B class keel yacht Ngahuia was wrecked on Matakana Island during a storm last night. The missing men are:— Mr. Leslie M. Mellars, married, aged 38, recently of Auckland and now local inspector at Tauranga for the National Insurance Company. Mr. Phillip H. Nielson, married, aged 33, borough council employee, of 11th Avenue, Tauranga. Mr. Roy Tonkin, single, aged 23, second son of Mr. C. Tonkin, builder and contractor, of Grey Street, Tauranga. Mr. John Herbert Willcock, aged 19, only son of Mr. S. G. Willcock, secretary of the Bay of Plenty Racing Club. The owner of the yacht, Mr. Frank C. Gresham, of Tauranga succeeded in reaching the shore and, although injured, struggled to Mr. R. Faulkner's homestead for help. 

Auckland Star, Volume LXXI, Issue 12, 15 January 1940, Page 6

150 men were engaged in the search for the bodies of the four missing men. Matakana Island was thoroughly searched, but the crew were not found. Wreckage from the Ngahuia had started to come ashore;  half of the vessel being found 8 miles north of where she had wrecked, with no sign of the bodies the searchers had hoped to find. On January 21, 1940 the bodies of  two of the crew members  Leslie M. Mellars and Roy Tonkin were found on the shore of Matakana Island. On January 26, the body of  John Herbert Willcock was also found on the beach. The body of Philip Herbert Neilson was never recovered.

At the subsequent enquiry Gresham gave a detailed account of the events leading up to the tragic loss of four lives:

Frank Gordon Gresham, owner of the Ngahuia, slated that on their return trip from White Island they encountered bad weather, with poor visibility. About 11.30 p.m. he called Willcock on deck and they endeavoured to see the outline of the Mount or the North Rock light, but were unsuccessful. The boat, was handling splendidly, with no green water coming aboard.
At two o'clock they lowered, anchor with a 30 fathoms warp as a precaution. At 3.15 a.m. the yacht was knocked down by three successive curlers, but no damage was done. The next broke the mast. The hatches were torn off, the dinghy washed away and a hole made in the cabin top. The yacht evidently hit bottom. 
Left, on Mattresses. The crew decided to leave the boat on kapok mattresses. Tonkin was first away, then Willcock. The remaining three stayed aboard until the yacht sank, then left the yacht together. Witness lost his mattress but managed to make shore after about half an hour. He noticed that all the mattresses were ashore and thought the crew safe. The Ngahuia was a triple-skinned yacht, perfectly seaworthy. Trouble started when they were unable to see the North Light. Had the light been half-way up the Mount to give a landfall, they would have been in no trouble. All the crew were yachts men and could swim. 
Bay of Plenty Beacon, Volume 2, Issue 120, 7 February 1940, Page 5

In his conclusions the Coroner had noted that the "question of the light at the Mount would receive publicity. He would not add a rider, but would attach a note to the depositions suggesting that the Minister of Justice direct the attention of the Minister of Marine to the position of the light." (Bay of Plenty Beacon 7 February 1940)

Auckland Star, Volume LXX, Issue 308, 30 December 1939, Page 11
Auckland Star, Volume LXXI, Issue 12, 15 January 1940, Page 6
Auckland Star, Volume LXXI, Issue 16, 19 January 1940, Page 5
Auckland Star , Issue 18, 22 January 1940, Page 3
Auckland Star, Volume LXXI, Issue 29, 3 February 1940, Page 11

Bay of Plenty Beacon, Volume 2, Issue 120, 7 February 1940, Page 5

Evening Post, Volume CXXIX, Issue 12, 15 January 1940, Page 9
Evening Post, Volume CXXIX, Issue 18, 22 January 1940, Page 3
Evening Post, Volume CXXIX, Issue 29, 3 February 1940, Page 8

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Toiler (1912)

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19120208-14-2

The Toiler was launched in Te Kopuru from the yards of boat builders Brown & Sons on 22 January 1912. The steamer was built for Francis Lionel Kitching for a passenger and cargo service on the Northern Wairoa River.  She was the second vessel built for Kitching for his Kaipara trade. The vessel was christened by his wife with a bottle of champagne and named "Toiler". She was built  with a length of 75 feet (22.86m), 15 feet beam (4.572m), and a 5 foot draught (1.524m). She was powered with 130 h.p engines. Her tonnage was 61 tons register. She was of wooden construction, presumably of kauri planking.

After no further mention of the vessel she reappears again in early March 1916, when a man named Frank Thompson drowned after crossing from the Toiler to another vessel named the Bellbird. He fell between the vessels and was lost. His body was not recovered from the North Wairoa River. In May 1916, she assisted the schooner Maroro, when the vessel was caught up in heavy seas and towed her into harbour. In November, Kitching the Toiler's owner took the Sydney based Union Box & Packing Company, owners of the Maroro, to court. 

A salvage action involving a claim for £1000 for services rendered to a vessel in distress at the Kaipara Bar was commenced at the Supreme Court this morning before his Honor Mr. Justice Hosking. The plaintiff was Lionel Thomas Kitching. master and owner of the small steamer Toiler, and the defendants tbe Union Box and Packing Case Co., of Sydney, owners of the three-masted schooner Maroro, the vessel alleged to have been salved. Mr. M. G. McGregor appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. H. P. Richmond for the defendant-. The statement of claim based the sum claimed upon the estimated value of tbe Maroro's hull at £2300, and her cargo at £1200, the value of the Toiler being assessed at £3500. It was also stated that the Toiler was not insured except against fire risks.

Auckland Star 9 November 1916

In December 1916 Kitching's case was upheld, but a lesser amount of money award of £250 from the intital £1,000 claimed.

Judgement for the plaintiff for £250 was given by His Honor Mr. Justice Hosking at the Supreme Court yesterday in an Admiralty case in which Lionel Francis Kitching (.Mr. M. G. McGregor), owner and master of the steamer Toiler, claimed £1000 from the Union Box and Packing Case Company, Ltd. (Mr. H. P. Richmond). for salvage and towage services I rendered to the defendant's three-masted schooner Maroro. in the Kaipara Harbour in May last.
New Zealand Herald 9 December 1916

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19170517-40-2 
Auckland East Coast Freezing Company situated at Whakatane 1917

In August 1917, Toiler was purchased by the Auckland East Coast Freezing Company for use at its Whakatane freezing works. She reappears in 1920 still owned by the same company.

The East Coast Freezing Company's steamer Toiler (Captain A. McGlashan), which underwent annual inspection last week in Auckland by the Marine Department's officials, arrived here at eleven o'clock last night. She will tow the Company's lighter Moa, laden with timber, from this port to Whakatane.

Bay of Plenty Times 30 August 1920

In 1927, after being laid up in the Whakatane River for two years, Toiler was sold on to the Bluff Crayfish & Oyster Company in Southland for use as an oyster boat.

Among the arrivals at Wellington yesterday was the small wooden steamer Toiler, of 61 tons register, en route from Whakatane to Bluff. The vessel was recently purchased by the Bluff Crayfish and Oyster Company from the East Coast Freezing Company, after having been idle in the Whakatane river for about two years. After some alterations to the decking she will be employed for oyster fishing in the South. Tho Toiler left Whakatane on 10th May under the command of Captain L. L. Petrie. Meeting with heavy seas at the East Cape she had to put back to Wangaparawa Bay, but on the following day she again, put out and, despite the heavy weather, almost reached Mahia Peninsula, but the coal began to run short, which necessitated, putting in to Gisbbrne to replenish the supply. She sailed from Gisborne on Saturday, and at 5 p.m. on Sunday, had reached Castlepoint, but exceptionally heavy seas were again encountered, and it was not until 3.30 p.m. yesterday that the Toiler berthed at Wellington to obtain a further supply of coal. Weather permitting, the Toiler is to sail from here at 8 o'clock to-morrow morning for Lyttelton, in continuation of her voyage.

Evening Post 17 May 1927

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19120404-14-1
The Toiler during sea trials late March 1912

 After 1927, there is no further mention of her. A brief search on google revealed she had been laid up on a beach at Bluff alongside the former Ocean Beach Freezing Works (closed in 1991) and left to the elements. Her remains are still there today.



New Zealand Herald, Volume XLIX, Issue 14899, 26 January 1912, Page 8


New Zealand Herald, Volume LIII, Issue 16172, 8 March 1916, Page 6


Wanganui Chronicle, Volume LXI, Issue 16647, 12 June 1916, Page 4


Auckland Star, Volume XLVII, Issue 268, 9 November 1916, Page 6


New Zealand Herald, Volume LIII, Issue 16408, 9 December 1916, Page 7

Te Puke Times , 10 August 1917, Page 2


Bay Of Plenty Times, Volume XLVIII, Issue 7482, 30 August 1920, Page 2


Evening Post, Volume CXIII, Issue 114, 17 May 1927, Page 10

The Bluff Portsider, September 2003, Vol. 23 No. 3 Page 5

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Lutterworth

The Lutterworth was an iron barque of 883 tons and was launched at Hartlepoole in 1868. In 1872 she was purchased by Shaw Saville & Co for the New Zealand trade. In 1906 she was dismasted in a storm and abandoned. She was salvaged and towed back to port where a court case ensured over whether or not she was in fact a derilect. The salvors of the vessel were awarded costs. The vessel was found too costly to repair and she was sold to the Northern Steamship Company for use as a coal hulk in Wellington. I have found reports on her as late as 1940 still in use in Wellington as a hulk. There is an excellent chapter on her from the book 'White Wings' on line at the NZETC here. I'm still working on a more detailed time line of her shipping career and will add to this blog post once it's completed

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Eure - French Man o' War that became a coal hulk

The Eure was a French man of war built sometime in the 19th century, at this stage I haven't been able to find any details about her commissioning in the French Navy. She first visited New Zealand in 1898, coming into Auckland Harbour for the first time in that same year. She also called at various ports around the country including visiting the settlement of Akaroa, before heading to Port Chalmers under the command of Captain Le Cuve.

Arrival in Port Chalmers
ARRIVAL. March 7. Eure, French war corvette, 1600 tons, 10 guns, Captain Le Cuve, from Akaroa.
 Otago Daily Times 8 March 1898

The vessel again visited New Zealand waters in 1900 including a visit to Wellington. She was then under the command of Captain Thibauld.

In 1911 after her decommissioning, the Eure was towed to Sydney from Noumea and dismantled according to some reports at Balmain in Sydney, where as other reports in the Australian papers have stated she was dismantled in Noumea. In 1913 she was purchased by the Northern Steamship Company for use as a coal hulk and was towed by the Ihumata to Auckland arriving 26 January 1913.

 AUCKLAND, 26th January. The old French gunboat Eure arrived to-day in, tow of the steamer Ihumata. The passage from Sydney was made in eight days ten hours. The Eure has been, purchased by the Northern.Company, for use as a coal hulk.
 Evening Post 27 January 1913

For the next 26 years until 1939 the Eure was laid up and used as a hulk for storing coal for the Northern Steamship Company supplying its fleet of vessels until 1939, when the old vessel's days finally came to an end. She was sold to the ship breakers and beached at Shoal Bay where she was broken up. The Evening Post report below stated she was towed to Auckland by the 'Joan Craig', however that is not accurate. It was the Ihumata that towed her from Sydney on her last journey to Auckland Harbour. 

 Another of the old ships lying in Auckland's "Rotten Row," a former French man-of-war. Eure, has been sold to the ship-breakers and is to be beached at Shoal Bay for dismantling. While this is being done the men engaged on the task will live on board the Taniwha. which was recently sold by the Northern Steam Ship Company to the same firm for breaking up. When the Eure's teak and oak timbers and metal work have been recovered, the Taniwha will be beached for similar treatment. Little is known of the Eure's service in the French Navy. Her last station, however, was Noumea. New Caledonia, where she was probably sent on patrol among French possessions, the inhabitants of which were not so friendly to white people in those days as they are now. That she has seen battle is evidenced by the fact that when she came to Auckland her sides bore signs of shot marks. She was bought by the Northern Steam Ship Company for use as a hulk a few years before the war. The French Government sent her to Sydney, and from there she was towed across the Tasman in 1912 by the Joan Craig. Since then she has spent her days as a hulk, though oblong ports for her guns in the remnants of her poop and forecastle indicate her former status. Though the Eure has outlasted her usefulness as a hulk, her timbers are still remarkably sound, and it is considered on the waterfront, that she has been a particularly well-found ship. All her timbers are teak and oak.
 Evening Post 14 June 1939

 A brief investigation into the Australian papers of the earlier time period (1890's) show reports of the Eure visiting various ports along the Australian coastline. She had taken part in the search for a missing vessel, and I also found several reports of her visiting New Guinea. She had also laid a supply depot down at an island called 'Amsterdam Island' for ship wrecked sailors. Whatever her early history the Eure had been an impressive vessel in her time, and played a significant role in the history of the Pacific Islands.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Hulk of the Eli Whitney 1840-1877 sunk Wellington 1877

Captioned "Port Chalmers from a painting by Captain John Robertson"
Vessels named from far left to far right of the image
"Favourite"  "William Hyde"  "Lord Ashley"  "Eli Whitney"  "Alhambra"

The Boston built barque Eli Whitney had been used as a coal hulk in Wellington Harbour during the 1870's. I came across her when I was researching some of the hulks lying at Quail Island at Lyttleton Harbour, Christchurch. She was launched in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1840. A vessel of some 500 tons although the figures vary on the different reports of her. For many years between 1860 and 1870 this vessel helped to keep the trans-Tasman trade functioning. She carried everything from passengers to livestock, wool and coal. She was a vessel whose sailing career extended over thirty years before finally she was sold to Captain Williams in 1870 and stripped down to be used as a coal hulk. In 1877 the Eli Whitney was struck by the Union Steamship Co owned vessel Taupo with the loss of two lives.The resulting enquiry held both parties responsible for the accident. Williams attempted to get compensation for the loss of his vessel. However the Union Steamship Co refused to pay the amount being claimed.

Outer tee at Queens Wharf, Wellington, 1936-1942

 The Eli Whitney sat submerged, 200 yards from the end of Queen's Wharf  for several months after her sinking. In January of 1878 several attempts were made to blow the vessel up in the hope she would be obliterated and not be a shipping hazard. However in 1879 exactly 12 months after the explosions, a diver was sent down to inspect the hulk. Being of solid construction the Eli Whitney had held fast against the destructive forces of the dynamite used in her hull. A decade later in 1887 the sunken hulk was at last destroyed. 200 pounds of gun cotton were packed into the Eli Whitney which led to her final destruction. In 1890 the Mana dragged up part of the Eli Whitney while the vessel was being used to drag for lost mooring buoys. The piece of the hulk was shifted out of its original position and placed elsewhere to prevent any further shipping hazards.

Portrait Eli Whitney by Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1822)

Now and then throughout the old newspapers she is recalled. One article mentioned the possible origins of the vessel's name. Eli Whitney (1765 - 1825) inventor of the cotton gin was suggested. Being born in the same state as where the vessel of the same name was built, plus the history behind the man's inventions - it could be a possibility.

Below is a timeline of articles I've found to date about this vessel. It's not a complete list but an idea of the life of a very well built and hardworking vessel such as the Eli Whitney was paints an interesting portrait of the history of NZ shipping. It was once the backbone of our economic survival without these grand old sailing vessels our country would never have become what it is today.


The first record I have of her in New Zealand waters was her arrival at Lyttleton on April 26 1860 "Eli Whitney, ship 510 tons" Her cargo manifest included;  300 tons of coal , two horses, 1 box of books, 1 box of earthen wear, 3 pack saddles, 1 cask preserved seal skins, 50 bales of hay. Lyttleton Times 28 February 1860.

The ship Eli Whitney, which arrived in port on Thursday, is commanded and partly owned by Captain B. Jenkins, hitherto the well known commander of the equally well known and favourite brig Dart. This is the best introduction which the new visitor could bring to our port. Captain Jenkins left Sydney on the 20th March, and proceeded to Twofold Bay, where he took on board 2300 sheep, the property of Mr. Wentworth, and on the 6th April proceeded with them to the Bluff, which port was reached in six days, with the loss of only forty-five of the living freight. After discharging at the Bluff, of which harbour Captain Jenkins speaks highly, a week was consumed in coming up the coast, only light baffling winds being met with until the southerly breeze of Wednesday. The Eli Whitney passed the best days of her existence in the American trade with Liverpool, and being of Yankee origin, testifies to the substantial workmanship of the days of the earlier clippers.

Lyttleton Times 28 April 1860

Same day, ship Eli Whitney, 507 tons, Jenkins, for Sydney. Cabin passengers—Mr. and Mrs. Day, the Misses Cain and Papprill, Mrs. Clarkson, Messrs. Lee, Robertson, Richardson and Stoddart. Steerage: Mr. and Mrs. Harrison and two children, Mr. and Mrs. Booth, Mr. and Mrs. FitzGerald and child, Mrs. and Miss Saunders, Miss Stewart, Messrs. Boyd, Thorley, Jessop, Hughes, Price, Goodman, Clark, Jones, Frame, Barrett, Higgins, G. and F. Culling, Short, Sykes, Taylor, J. and P. Wood, Swan wick, Roberts, Dowling, Cowan, Oben, Casey and Stuart.
Lyttleton Times 30 May 1860

After the despatch of the Ashburton about 1000 bales of wool of the season's clip still remained in the province — a large number of which below being shipped per Eli Whitney to Sydney, and other parcels to Melbourne. The additional value to the credit of our wool exports will be rather over £24,000 when the whole is shipped — bringing up the sum to about £175,000.
Daily Southern Cross 8 June 1860

Messrs. Burt and Co, shipped yesterday, per Eli Whitney, a draft of seventy horses for the Mauritius. They consist for the most part of strong upstanding colts of from three to five years, similar to those generally selected for the India shipments. Mr. Rodd's thoroughbred colt Eglinton,and a two year old by imported  Sleight-of-Hand junior, leave the colony by the same vessel.(Sydney Morning Herald July 21 1860)
Lyttelton Times 25 August 1860

DUNEDIN. 4th February.
ARRIVED. 2.30 p.m. — Eli Whitney, from Newcastle
Evening Post 5 February 1867

DEPARTURES. March 14.— Eli Whitney, barque, Place, for Dunedin, New Zealand, with 835 tons coal.
Daily Southern Cross 16 March 1867

DECEMBER--. 3, Falcon, ketch, 37 tons, Morrison, from Blenheim. 8, Heversham, barque, 489 tons, Yule, from Newcastle. 3, Airedale, s.s., 286 tons, Kennedy, from Lyttelton, Dunedin, and Bluff. 4, Eli Whitney, barque, 507 tons, Williams, from Newcastle. 5, Esk, barque, 404 tons, M'Kellar, from Newcastle.
Wellington Independent 6 December 1870

Captain Williams, of the barque Haversham, who has been trading to this port for some three years, intends, we understand, taking up his residence in this city. He has obtained the contract for supplying Messrs M'Meckan and Blackwood for the ensuing twelve months. He has brought the barque Eli Whitney from New South Wales, and has converted her into a coal hulk, and has also bought the hulk Rosebud, which is undergoing a thorough overhaul previous to being again brought into requisition.
Wellington Independent 10 December 1870

In anticipation of the arrival of the Claud and the Wellington, the hulks India and Eli Whitney were moored at either end of the wharf, and instead of hauling off to give the steamers room to come alongside, they remained so close to the wharf that when the Claud Hamilton came up, the pilot found himself very cramped for room, particularly as the wind had at that moment canted the Eli Whitney almost across the bows of the steamer. In addition to this combination of difficulties, the pilot seemed not to be aware of the way the steamer had on at the time, and in steering for the wharf, and endeavoring to avoid the Eli Whitney, came stern on. Two of the outer piles were grazed, but the damage, thought at first to be serious, is only trifling.
   Wellington Independent 18 March 1872

In going out of harbour to-day, the captain's orders were not carried out in steering, and the steamer 'Albion' made an attempt to go through the hulk 'Eli Whitney,' but only managed to crunch bulwarks some.
Taranaki Herald 14 April 1875


A most painful sensation was excited in town this morning by the news that the hulk Eli Whitney had sunk in the harbor during the night, and, that two lives had been sacrificed. It appears that the hulk was lying at the buoy about a quarter of a mile east from the Queen's Wharf, with about 800 tons of coal on board, the property of Captain Williams, who also was the owner of the hulk. 
She was under the charge of Mr. Edwin Davey, who, with his wife Amy and his infant son Alfred Ernest (5 months old), lived on board, and slept last night in the cabin. A very severe gale was blowing from the N.W., with furious squalls, and the night was very dark. The hulk was straining heavily at her moorings. Shortly after midnight Davey suddenly was awakened, and heard water rushing into the vessel. He jumped up and found the cabin full of water. 
Rousing his wife and child, he hurried them on deck, there being no time to put on any clothing, for when they reached the deck the water already was nearly on a line with it. He rushed to the boat, and had hold of the painter, when t'ue hulk, boat, and all suddenly sank right under his feet. He had only time to seize one of the planks lying about the decks, and to get on it with his wife and child when the hulk disappeared, and the fury of the gale drove them rapidly to leeward.
About ten minutes afterwards the child was washed off, and it was impossible even to attempt to save it. The husband and wife continued drifting in the direction of Meech's baths, but before reaching the shore the wife also was washed off, and lastly Davey himself lost his hold, but was driven ashore, and although greatly exhausted, managed to crawl as far as a house occupied by Mrs. Davies, who, on being aroused, at once rendered him all the assistance in her power, while the alarm being given to Mr. and Mrs. Meech, they also promptly came to help. 
An immediate search was made for the wife, who was thought to stand some chance of being driven ashore alive. The extreme darkness made all their efforts for a long time futile, but at length the unfortunate woman was discovered, after nearly two hours' search, holding on to the wooden stage lying on the beach near Meech's baths. When found, she was quite warm, and her heart was beating, but although all possible means were used to restore animation, they utterly failed, and it soon became evident that she had passed away. About 4.30 this morning, the body of the child was found on the Te Aro beach, near the Gasworks, by a man named Thomas Minty, of course quite dead. The remains of the mother and child were conveyed to the Morgue, where an inquest will be held on Monday. 
The cause of this deplorable catastrophe at first appeared involved a mystery. Although an old vessel, the Eli Whitney was thoroughly sound, and had ridden out many gales as severe as that of last night. She was scarcely two thirds full of coals, her carrying capacity being 1900 tons, while she had barely 800 tons on board. The theory that she had simply parted, and sunk at her anchor was proved untenable, and the most feasible conjecture appeared to be that the severe jerks on her chain caused by the gale either had carried away one of her bow ports, or had caused a plank to start, on which, of course, she would fill and sink instantly. 
The real facts of the case were not known until 10 a.m., when Capt. Alexander Chambers, master of the schooner Clio, came ashore and made the following statement : —
"The Clio was lying at anchor about midway between the wharf and the hulk, but somewhat to windward of a direct line from one to the other. Wind, N.W., hard gale with violent squalls, and night dark, but not so dark but that the hulk and her mast were visible from the schooner. Shortly after midnight the steamship Taupo left the wharf bound for Picton and Northern Ports. In going out, the steamer passed very close to the schooner. Suddenly he (Capt Chambers) heard someone on board the steamer shout out that the hulk was right ahead, and the telegraph bell was sounded to stop the engines, but two seconds afterwards the Taupo ran into the hulk, striking her a little abaft amidships with a crash that was heard most distinctly on board the Clio, which was lying to windward at a distance of fully 200 yards." 
"The Taupo then dropped astern and lay for about ten minutes, apparently ascertaining whether she herself had sustained any serious damage in the collision, she then steamed away. Captain Chambers, on seeing the accident, went below for a glass, and, on returning on deck, after an absence of less than two minutes, found that the hulk had sunk, and only the top of her mast was visible above water"
The Eli Whitney was showing no light at the time the steamer ran into her. There were lights on board earlier in the evening, but as the night wore on they were extinguished, and Captain Chambers supposed that if any persons had been on board, they must have gone on shore. He heard no cry for help or anything which could lead him to suppose that anybody was on board the hulk when she was struck.
 This statement is corroborated by the night watchman on board the Avalanche, and by other eye witnesses of the disaster. As the Taupo arrived at Picton this morning, at 6.20, it is plain that she has not suffered materially by the collision, and probably some further particulars will be received by telegram during the afternoon. The three unfortunate castaways, however, were not allowed to drift to destruction without some efforts being made to pick them up as they were driven across the harbour. 
About half-past twelve, the night watchman on board the barque Adamant heard cries of distress, apparently from a female voice in the water. Captain Bowling, on the alarm being given, at once manned and lowered a boat, of which he himself took command, and pulled in the direction from which the cries were heard, but before the boat could be got into the water, those cries had died away altogether, and, although Captain Bowling and his brave seamen pulled about for a long time, they could neither see or hear anything of the castaways. The fierce storm and rough sea rendered their own situation one of great difficulty and danger. 
They found it impossible to pull back to the ship, and at length were compelled to beach the boat at Clyde Quay, where they landed, thoroughly drenched to the skin. Another and even more daring attempt at a rescue was made by Mr. Peter Fergensen, who is in charge of Messrs. W. & G. Turnbull and Co.'s hulk India, who heard the cries while he was below in his cabin, and at once rushed up without waiting to dress, and pulled off alone in his boat. He says that had the cries only been once repeated after he' had launched his boat, he could have saved the castaways, but unfortunately not a sound was to be heard, and at length, his boat being full of water, and finding himself just under the stern of the s.s. Agnes, he shouted for help, and those on board lowered him a life-buoy and rope, by which he pulled himself on board. 
The Eli Whitney was an American-built barque of 540 tons ; built at Boston in 1840 of pitch-pine. She was purchased by Captain Williams about six years ago from Messrs. Pickett Bros., of Melbourne, and was brought down by him to this port,'where she has been used as a coal-hulk ever since.  She had two powerful steam winches on board,- one forward and the other aft, the two being valued at several hundred pounds. The coals on board were worth upwards of £1200, and the hulk herself about a like sum,  thus, as there was not a penny of insurance on either the hulk or her contents, Captain Williams, we regret to say, a loser to the amount of fully ,£3OOO. 
He informs us that the hulk was thoroughly overhauled only three days ago by several shipwrights, who pronounced her sound in every part. The unfortunate man, Edwin Davey was sufficiently recovered this afternoon to be removed to the house of his father-in-law, Mr. Price., Tory-street, where he gave to the representative of this paper a very clear account of what took place, so far as his own personal knowledge went, but throwing no light whatever on the origin of the disaster. 
He says that, having been kept awake by the gale during most of the previous night, he and his wife retired to rest early last evening, and, after a time, slept well although at first disturbed by the violent creaking and jerking of the vessel as she strained at her warps in the furious squalls. Suddenly his wife roused him, asking him to listen to the strange noise the water was making in the closet, which opened off the cabin. He sprang up and at once found the water already in the cabin.
 Rushing on deck he endeavoured to haul the boat, which was fastened by a painter to the stern — round to the side-ladder in order that his wife and child might be able to get down to it, but by the time he had accomplished this the water was coming over the vessel's bows, and he exclaimed to his wife that there was nothing for it but to strike out.  He succeeded in securing a plank and hauling his wife on to it, but in a very few minutes it capsized, throwing them into the water. He recovered the plank at last, and then managed to seize his wife by the hair and drag her on to it again, but in the shock of the immersion she had dropped the child, and they never saw it again. 
He and his wife succeeded in reaching the southern shore of the bay safely, although much exhausted — the plank several times capsizing by the way. With great difficulty he scrambled ashore, leaving his wife in safety by Meech's floating stage — aground at the time — and went to the nearest house as above stated, to get help, but overcome by exhaustion, he fainted, and for nearly an hour was unable to explain what he wanted.
The rest of the circumstances are detailed above. Mr. Davey asserts positively that the Eli Whitney's light was burning when he went to bed. He also states that he felt no particular shock, the acuteness of his perception probably having been deadened by the motion and noise of the vessel in the violent storm racing. He had been married only about eighteen months. His wife whose maiden name was Amy Price, was a young girl only twenty years of age. formerly at service in the family of the Right Rev. Bishop Hadfield, and always was a general favorite. 
In addition to the irreparable loss of his fair young wife, the unfortunate Edwin Davey has lost all his worldly possessions, and is absolutely destitute. He had furnished his cabin on board the hulk very comfortably and tastefully, and all, of course, is gone. It appears that the first messenger sent for Dr. Doyle, as the nearest doctor, went to the house in Manners-street formerly occupied by that doctor, and knocked up the present inmates, stating that a drowning man required assistance. Soon afterwards a second messenger called on the same errand. 
As Dr. Doyle was never asked for at all, the inmates were puzzled to account for this demand on their services. The mistake at length was discovered, and a third messenger went to Dr. Harding, the next nearest doctor, who was on the spot within ten minutes, and did all in his power, both for the husband, who soon recovered under his care, and also in trying, although unhappily in vain, to restore the wife to consciousness.
Evening Post 24 February 1877

THE SINKING OF THE ELI WHITNEY.CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION. Wellington-, March 2. Captain Williams, owner of the sunken hulk Eli Whitney, has demanded of the Union Company £3OOO, in compensation of the loss sustained by the Taupo running into the hulk. The Union Company have declined to pay any sum.
Grey River Argus 3 March 1877


An attempt was made this evening to blow up the sunken hulk, Eli Whitney, which was cut down by the Taupo some months ago. The hulk lies about two hundred yards from the end of Queen's Wharf, in thirty feet of water. A charge of twenty pounds of dynamite was used, and set off by electricity from a battery supplied by the Telegraph Department; there was a sharp report, a few pieces of timber came to the surface, and the mainmast was canted to an angle, with a very little commotion in the water, and no shock felt at the end of the pier.
West Coast Times 18 January 1878

ELI WHITNEY.Wellington, January 30. The second and third attempt to blow up the hulk Eli Whitney, were failures.

West Coast Times 31 January 1878

BLOWING UP A WRECK.Wellington, Feb. 18th A final effort to blow up the hulk Eli Whitney which has been lying submerged a short distance off the end of the Queen's wharf was made this evening. The charge of about 30lbs of dynamite equal to a 100lbs of gunpowder was used. All arrangements were very successful, the explosion gave a severe shock to the Queen's wharf, and was also felt in the public houses in the vicinity. A large quantity of timber came to the surface besides hundreds of dead fish, some schnapper being from 12lbs to 20lbs weight.
Grey River Argus 19 February 1878


The diver of H.M.S Emerald, says the Wellington Pod, at the request of the Marine Department, went down on Monday afternoon to ascertain what had been the effect of the numerous attempts which were made to blow up the old hulk Eli Whitney, which was sunk in this harbor by the steamer Taupo.  The diver's report can hardly be deemed satisfactory,  as he states that only the deck and a few of the vessel's ribs have been removed by the repeated explosions, the main bulk of the hull remaining practically untouched. This is a very poor result of so much trouble, expense, and consumption of dynamite, and gunpowder. It is to be hoped that now this dangerous obstruction has been ascertained to be still unremoved, no time will be lost by the proper authorities in having it cleared away.
Hawkes Bay Herald 16 April 1879


Wellington2801bs of gun cotton in four, charges was fired at the submerged hulk Eli Whitney, off the end of the Railway Wharf this evening. The explosion was felt over a great part of the town, and a large number of fish were killed, but little timber came to the surface, and it is not yet known whether the attempt has been more successful than former experiments in the same direction.
Thames Star 28 July 1887
The steamer Mana was engaged this morning dragging a short distance from the wharf for the moorings of two buoys belonging to the Harbour Board, and which became unshackled a short time ago. The moorings wore not recovered, but a large piece of the old hulk Eli Whitney, which, it will be remembered, was sunk some years ago, was picked up, and placed in a position where it cannot be the cause of damage to any vessels.
Evening Post 29 January 1890

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kia Ora - A vessel unblessed by Lady Luck

"I christen you Kia Ora; may you have good luck." 

Those were the words spoken by Mrs W. Jagger when she christened the brand new yawl rigged yacht "Kia Ora" at her launching on 14 October 1903 from Stanley Bay on the North Shore of Auckland.

Built by the firm of  Bailey and Lowe Kia Ora was destined for greater things if her new Captain Horace E. Buckridge had his way. She had been launched with pomp and ceremony with the news, that she would be soon to sail around the globe to London where he intended to put her on display. He then planned to have her exhibited at the World's Fair in St Louis Missouri USA - where Buckridge intended to sell her to American interests.

She was not a large sailing vessel her dimensions were given in the contemporary newspaper reports of the time as: 

"... a yacht of 2½ tons, 22ft overall. 6ft’ 6in beam, with a depth of 3ft 6in aft, and graduating forward. It was built (so far as the woodwork was concerned) entirely of New Zealand woods and had a lead keel of  7½ cwt."  

Kia Ora was a vessel though destined to have a run of bad luck and a death would be added to her story a mere few months after her launching. She was supposed to be a challenger for the ocean - but instead Old Man Sea was to decree otherwise.

Horace Edgar Buckridge her captain had an intriguing background. A veteran of the Boer War he had made it to the rank of Sergeant Major, and after the war had been asked by Robert Falcon Scott to join him on the Discovery Antarctic Expedition (1901-1903). A check into the team Scott took with him reveals the name H.E. Buckridge - position Laboratory assistance. It seemed to me an unglamorous position - however Buckridges own words when he was interviewed by the 'Truth'  (Otago Witness 15 April 1903) he himself had said the boredom of being stuck on board the Discovery was a monotony. He had returned to Lyttleton on the ship Morning in March of 1903 to start a new venture.

He met up with Captain Voss who had been sailing the small craft Tilikum on an around the world sailing voyage. Voss was exhibiting the craft and Buckridge soon joined him on a lecture tour. Voss spoke of his journey with the Tilikum (described as a four ton 'Indian War Canoe') and Buckridge gave his account of his experiences of the Antarctic ice and of his time on board the Discovery.

TWO MEN IN A BOAT. Arrival of the Tilikum. It is not within the memory of the oldest resident of Feilding, nor is it ever likely to be repeated, " a deep sea ship in the Drill Hall," yet this is what will happen on Wednesday, when the tiny Tilikum, an Indian war canoe, hewn from a log of cedar, 4 tons, 6ft beam, 82ft on the water line, and drawing only 18in water, will be placed on exhibition.

This diminutive craft had sailed 12,870 miles when she reached Wellington, and must do 17,000 more before she has hauled down the Stars and Stripes, and runs up that British flag, the Canadian Ensign. For you see she is beating the American yacht Spray, 14 tons, 12ft beam, which holds the proud distinction of being the smallest vessel that ever girdled this old globe of ours.
Capt. Voss and Mr Luxton, a journalist, left Victoria, B.C., on the 21st May, 1901,on the most intrepid journey the world has ever known for the circumnavigation of the globe in a canoet For three times the little ship was driven back to the friendly shelter of Cape Flattery, on the rock-bound Canadian coast, through gales that blew with cyclone fury, and she did not finally start until the 6th July. Then 58 days were spent at sea until the Penlaylow Island was reached ; here 17 days were spent amongst the natives,and sail was set for Suva, calls being made at the Danger Group, Humphrey Islands, where the R.R. Dr Wallis, Bishop of Wellington, went on board the tiny voyager.
 At Suva Mr Luxton left, and Mr Louis Begant joined as mate, and then came trouble. Begant lost his balance, fell over the side, and was never afterwards seen, unfortunately taking the compass with him. Captain Voss was then alone on the vast Pacific no mate, no compass, nothing to guide him but the stars ; this happened five days out from Suva, but this plucky mariner shaped a course for Sydney, 1200 miles, meeting gale after gale, little rest, nothing but anxious watching.
 On the 23rd day he arrived off the Sydney Heads in an exhausted condition. Sydney went frantic, thousands of people seeing this plucky mariner and his tiny craft. After staying a month in the doctor's care he loft for Newcastle,and then sailed for Melbourne ; in the latter place she fell from a crane, and was so badly damaged as to cause a delay of five months for repairs. Thence she visited Ballarat, 1400 ft above sea level. Back to Geelong, sail was set for Adelaide, and afterwards for Hobart, Tasmania
Across the Tasman Sea awful weather was experienced, and gale after gale met, five days and no hot food was ate. The stove being smashed on the 11th day, anchor was cast in the new river estuary, a happy relief from battling with the elements. The voyage around the coast was not without some incident, but then as we said we could not give a detailed account, and Captain Voss will tell you himself in a homely style his adventurous career, and explain the use of that wonderful device the sea anchor. 
Associated with Captain Voss as mate is a remarkable man, Mr H. E. Buckridge; he has been prospector, trooper, explorer, seaman, pearl fisher, etc., was in the last south Polar expedition, in fact only left the ice last March, having been relieved by the Morning. For fifteen months he was in the Discovery, and was one of six men that explored the interior of the Antarctic Continent. Captain Voss and Mr Buckridge lecture on Wednesday.
 Fielding Star 16 May 1903 

With his association with Voss, Buckridge had a dose of the 'I'll out do you' fever. Somewhere along the way he had parted company with his friend and decided he too would try sailing around the world in a small craft. His announcement in August 1903 was reported with much interest.

An Attempt to Outdo the Tilikum. (Per United Press Association.) AUCKLAND, August 31.
 An attempt to out-do Captain Voss's feat of sailing the Indian canoe Tilikum around the world will be made by Mr Horace Buckridge, late of the Discovery, and for a, few months mate of the Tilikum.
Bailey and Lowe, of Auckland, boat-builders, have commenced to build a craft not exceeding two and a-half tons measurement, resembling partly a lifeboat and partly a yacht in appearance. Mr Buckridge hopes to start in six weeks, sailing around the Horn direct to London, without calling at any intermediate ports, unless compelled by bad weather,
Then he makes for America , hoping to exhibit the craft at the St. Louis Exhibition next year.

Wanganui Herald 31 August 1903 
Bailey and Lowe were a major shipwright firm of the day. Their yard was based in Customs Street West in what is now Downtown Auckland. The Kia Ora as she would be soon named was their work. With the publicity surrounding Buckridge's grand schemes, 400 spectators turned up to see the small yacht launched ready for her circumnavigation of the globe. The champagne bottle was broken upon her hull and she was duly christened - to begin a sailing career of mishap and bad luck.

Stanley Bay was visited by at least 400 people yesterday afternoon, when Mr. Buckridge's yacht the Kia Ora took the water for the first time, the launching ceremony being performed by Mrs. W. Jagger, who, in breaking the champagne bottle on the vessel's counter, said:
 "I christen you Kia Ora; may you have good luck."
Loud and prolonged cheering was then indulged in.

When the vessel was nearly afloat a slight accident to the skids caused her to overbalance, but as she had some way on she shot out into deep water and quickly righted. The boat was taken alongside the wharf, where she was boarded by her owner, Mr. Buckridge, and Messrs. Percy Isaacs, E. Davies, Bailey and Lowe. The vessel was taken in tow for a short distance by an oil launch, and was then made fast to her moorings.

Mr. Buckridge told our representative that he was very well pleased with the way in which Messrs. Bailey and Lowe had carried out their contract, adding that special attention had been paid to strength in her build. Mr. Brandt, of Gisborne, will go with, Mr. Buckridge as mate on his long voyage, joining the boat at Gisborne.
The Kia Ora will leave St. Helier's Bay on Sunday afternoon at three o'clock. Captain Buckridge will be the only occupant of the boat as far as Gisborne, which will be the only port touched at until arrival at London. After leaving Gisborne it is proposed to make a straight course, east by south, for Cape Horn, which should be rounded six or seven weeks later. Between eight and twelve weeks after that the captain hopes to reach London. Should necessity arise, through shortness of provisions or illness, the boat will call in at Rio de Janeiro, Monte Video, of Pernainbuco.
The Kia Ora will be exhibited in London for about two months. She will then recross the Atlantic, and Captain Buckridge hopes to reach America in time to exhibit her at the St. Louis Exhibition in August next year. This, he explains, is the real object of the expedition, as he is very anxious of advertising the colony. Mr Buckridge may return to Auckland in his tiny craft, but it is more than probable that he will dispose of her while in America.

Auckland Star 15 October 1903

Five days after her accident prone launching, the Kia Ora was sailed out of the Hauraki Gulf headed for Gisborne further south on the east coast to pick up seaman Harry Brandt. 

 (Per Press Association.) AUCKLAND, this day.
Mr Buckridge, formerly with the Discovery in the Antarctic, left for Gisborne yesterday in the Kia Ora, a craft of two and a-half tons, in which he intends to make the trip round the world. He goes hence to Gisborne, where he picks up Harry Brandt, a seaman who accompanies him to London via Cape Horn.
The Kia Qra weighs only 7 cwt, and is therefore considerably smaller than the Tilikum (four tons), which is now circumnavigating the globe under command of Captain Voss, and the American yacht Spray (13 tons) which performed the hazardous task some time since. The Kia Ora is no bigger than the ordinary small yacht seen about Auckland, and should her master: be successful in piloting her safely to London he will have performed a feat hitherto unaccomplished in so small a boat. She is only 22ft in length, and her beam is 6ft 6in, but the builders, Messrs Bailey and Lowe, have excelled themselves in turning but a craft that probably could not be improved on for the task she is set to accomplish.

The Kia Ora is a perfect model of buoyancy and strength. She is built of the choicest timber, and is copper fastened throughout. Every plank is worked its full length from stem to stern, so that there is not a "but" in the whole craft, despite the fact that the model is full and shapely. So long as the. craft floats it will be impossible for her to break up, however severe may be the gale encountered; there will be enough lend on  her keel to keep her upright; she cannot take on board much sea-water, and there is an automatic device for returning it to the ocean. The main danger is being driven upon  a lee shore, but with the sails provided, and good steering gear, Mr Buckeridge feels very confident m trusting his life to his craft. — Star.

Poverty Bay Herald 19 October 1903

The unpredictable weather of the Hauraki Gulf however soon saw a report of the Kia Ora being stranded at Point Rodney (now Cape Rodney) near Leigh. Buckridge abandoned her believing she was a complete loss. News was soon sent around the nation that all was not well with the first attempt to sail out of the Hauraki Gulf.


Lloyd's agent here this morning received a telegram from Mr Leigh, of Little Omaha, stating that the yacht Kia Ora, which left Auckland on Sunday for Gisborne, was ashore at Point Rodney. The telegram gave no details as to how the mishap occurred or the extent of the damage to the vessel, but stated that no lives were lost. The Kia Ora was in charge of Mr Buckeridge, formerly connected with the Discovery, Antarctic expedition, and he had with, him Mr Percy Isaac, licensee of the Royal Hotel, the arrangement being that the latter should leave the Kia Ora at Gisborne, and make room for a seaman named Harry Brandt, with whom Mr Buckeridge proposed to proceed to London via Cape Horn. It is difficult to understand how the Kia Ora got ashore at Point Rodney, but probably she was driven considerably, out of her course by adverse gales.

Auckland Star 20 October 1903

Auckland, October 20. Lloyd's agent here this morning received a telegram from Little Omaha stating that the yacht Kia Ora, which left Auckland on Sunday for Gisborne, was ashore at Point Rodney. The telegram gave no details as to how the mishap occurred or the extent of the damage to the vessel, but states that no lives were lost.
The Kia Qra was in charge of Mr Buckridge, formerly connected with the Discovery Antarctic expedition, and he had with him Mr Percy Isaac, licensee of the Royal Hotel, the arrangement being that the latter should leave the Kia Ora at Gisborne and make room for a seaman named Harry Brandt, with whom Mr Buckridge proposed to proceed to London, via Cape Horn. It is difficult to understand how the Kia Ora got ashore at Point Rodney, but probably she was driven considerably, out of her course by adverse gales.

Mr J. M. Buckeridge wired this afternoon as follows:—
" Kia Ora missed stays and got in breakers; now on rocks at Point Rodney. Both safe and unhurt. Weather too bad for steamer to call. Both had Very anxious time. Little hope of saving the boat."

Ohinemuri Gazette 21 October 1903


Mr Buckeridge's story of the wreck of the Kia Ora is as follows:—
“ We were blown from the lee of Great Barrier Island, and endeavored to make South Channel, Kawau Island, under  the cabin was half full of water, and the pump was choked, of us had had food or sleep since starting. Owing to the yawing of the boat and the tremendous sea, we could not steer our course, but had to run before the gale. About us was very foggy weather, which, when lifting, disclosed our position to be off Rodney Point, Omaha. We tried to weather the point, but failed. We were caught by breakers and washed on to the shore, miraculously escaping the jagged rooks all round. We have been royally entertained by Mr and Mrs Tenetahi."

Marlborough Express 23 October 1903

The yacht was later to be found high and dry on the rocks. Walter Bailey of Bailey and Lowe heded up from Auckland to see to her repairs for the journey back to Auckland. Locals at Leigh refloated her and took her back to the shelter of the Leigh Harbour to await the repairs. 

Mr Harper, Lloyd's agent at Leigh, Omaha, says: — "I saw a small boat approaching Maori Island, at the entrance to Omaha Harbour, and seeing that it was impossible for her to round the point, I waited to see what those on board intended to do. Finding that no attempt was made to head her out to sea and Knowing that she must go on to the rocks, I, with several others, hastened to render what assistance we could, and on reaching- the yacht found that it was the Kia Ora. The yacht was stranded on the beach and was nearly high and dry. It was low water at the time, and myself and the other settlers worked her up to above high water mark, and made her safe by tying her to the flax. The yacht had a small hole in her side, and appeared to be badly strained. On visiting the yacht again I found that the heavy sea had done her little or no damage during the night, and probably when the sea moderates she will be got off safely. Yesterday Mr Buckridge telegraphed to Messrs Bailey and Lowe, the builders of the yacht, stating, that the Kia Ora was high up on the beach, with, a small hole in her side. Mr Walter Bailey leaves for Omaha to-day to make an examination of the yacht, and see what repairs are necessary.

Taranaki Herald 24 October 1903

Once in Auckland she was fully repaired ready to recommence her voyage with her captain at the helm.

The repairing of the yawl-rigged yacht Kia Ora, which went ashore at Point Rodney on Tuesday week last whilst on a voyage from Auckland to London, was completed at Stanley Bay, North Shore, to-day. The damage to the boat herself is only slight. The replacing of the stores destroyed by water is the more expensive. Mr. Brandt, who will be mate of the tiny vessel, arrived from Gisborne to-day. Mr. Buckridge anticipates resuming the voyage for London on Saturday or Sunday.

Auckland Star 29 October 1903

It seemed though her run of bad luck wasn't about to leave the vessel. Yet another mishap had her laid up this time with a broken mast at Stanley Bay.

Bad luck seems to follow the little yacht, Kia Ora, which is to make the voyage from Auckland to London. After getting ashore at Point Rodney, the yacht was brought down to Auckland, and some necessary repairs affected, and everything got in readiness for her to sail on her long voyage. On Sunday evening, whilst coming up to the wharf at Stanley Bay, North Shore, after being out for a sail, the yacht was carried under the wharf, with the result that the mast was broken. Repairs are now being effected, and Mr Buckridge expects to be ready for sea in a few days.

Wairarapa Daily Times 7 November 1903

The yacht Kia  Ora, which left; Auckland a fortnight ago for London in charge of Mr Buckeridge, and was driven ashore at Cape Rodney two days afterwards, has been refloated and will make another start for Europe in a week or so.
 Nelson Evening Mail 7 November 1903

Buckridge's own run of good luck was soon to run out. He finally made it to Gisborne to pick up Harry Brandt. Instead Brandt decided he wouldn't be sailing around the world with Horace Buckridge. His replacement was George Sowden who sailed out with him on what was meant to be the adventure of a lifetime. 300 miles beyond the Chatham Islands Horace Buckridge lost his life. Sowden sailed the Kia Ora single handedly back to port at Gisborne to relay the mournful news of the adventurer's passing.

Mournful End of the Voyage.
Death of Captain Buckridge,
Per Press Association
GISBORNE, December 23
The yacht Kia Ora., which.sailed from here for London, returned to port this morning in charge of young Sowden, who reports that his companion, Captain Buckridge, died on December 7, when 300 miles beyond the Chathams.

THE YACHT KIA ORA.Buckeridge's Sad Fate.A Remarkable CareerThe tragic death of Buckeridge, of the yacht Kia Ora in mid-ocean on the other side of the Chathams on 3rd December, ended a life which has abounded in adventure. He was an Englishman about 33 years of age, and fought on the British side in the Boer War. While there he was offered a position on the Antarctic exploration ship, the Discovery, which he accepted.
 He took part in the expedition, and returned to Lyttelton. While there he came across Captain Voss, of the Tilikum; the little four-tonner which holds the record  for dangerous ocean travelling, and he became Captain Voss' mate. Together they brought the little craft to Auckland, and then Buckeridge created a sensation by crossing the geyser at Waimangu in a small boat, accompanied by Guide Warbrick, and took soundings. The building of the Kia Ora was arranged for. It is a yacht of 2½ tons, 22ft overall. 6ft’ 6in beam, with a depth of 3ft 6in aft, and graduating forward. It was built (so far as the woodwork was concerned) entirely of New Zealand woods and had a lead keel of  7½ cwt. The yacht was launched on October 15.
She was loaded up with concentrated foods and 95 gallons of water. The water was made to serve the purpose of ballast, and as it was used up it was intended to replace it with salt water. The water was estimated to be sufficient for two men for 280 days, but it was hoped to catch a good quantity of rain water occasionally to replenish the supply. The cockpit was lined with zinc for salt-water baths, and this could also be used for collecting rain water.
Buckeridge proposed to sail straight for London, via Cape Horn, calling in only at Slaten Island.  The trip would occupy four or five months.  In London he would exhibit the yacht for a month or two, and he would then cross the Atlantic in time to attend the St. Louis exhibition. Buckeridge left Auckland in due course for Gisborne, where he was to pick up his mate. Mr Isaacs, of Auckland, accompanied him, intending to go as far as Gisborne, and see him on for his voyage to London. In the attempt to make Gisborne, however, they encountered very heavy seas, and the salt water played havoc with their provisions. They endeavoured to gain the shelter of the Barrier, but were foiled, and finally, missing stays near Point Rodney, went ashore. Both men got safely to land, and the yacht, which was only slightly damaged, was brought back to Auckand for repairs. Another start was made and this time she arrived safely.

At Gisborne she picked up the mate, Mr Sowden. But the Marine Department forbade the ocean trip, on the ground that Buckeridge did not possess an ocean certificate. He however, obtained permission to proceed to Wellington and endeavour to induce the authorities there to remove the objection. Once in the open sea, however, he seems to .have changed his mind,' and started for London, the voyage being interrupted by the accident above recorded, resulting in Buckeridge's death.

 Mr Buckeridge was engaged to be married to Miss Leonore Graham, of Masterton, who is now residing in Auckland, it is understood that he made his will before he sailed and left Miss Graham an interest in the vessel.

Wanganui Herald 29 December 1903


At the beginning of 1904 the Nautical enquiry was held into the death of Horace Buckridge formerly of the captain of the yacht Kia Ora

THE KIA ORA INQUIRY.Sowden's  Evidence.(Per United Press Association.)  GISBORNE, January 7.
The Magisterial enquiry concerning cruise of the Kia Ora and the death of Captain Buckridge commenced to-day, before Mr Barton, S.M., and Captain Chrisp, nautical assessor. W. J Hawley, Collector of Customs, detailed the circumstances, and called the survivor, George Henry J Sowden,  whose evidence bore out the narrative previously given. --.
 In reply to the collector, he said :

"I knew when I left Auckland I was going to London. When we left Auckland we intended to, go to Gisborne first. After leaving Gisborne our intention was to go to London. When the accident happened, I was below. I was not well at the time. The main boom had come over while I was sitting at the tiller, and struck him on the head. I did not give Buckridge anything to try and ease his pain. I do not know whether he took anything out of the medicine chest which was on board. I did not open his clothes to examine his body .after death.  His vest was open at the time, but I saw no marks upon it. From the time we left Auckland we were on the very best of terms."

Replying to the Magistrate, witness said he heard Mr Hawley tell Buckridge he would not be allowed to leave without the sanction of the  authorities. Mr Buckridge decided to go on, and anywhere he went witness was willing to go. Witness produced his mate's certificate and a copy of an agreement with Buckridge, by which witness was to get two-twelfths of the proceeds of the exhibition. The agreement was stamped, but had not been signed.

The owners of the yacht were Bailey and Lowe. Witness was examined at length by Captain Chrisp as to the circumstances and why no log was kept.

He said Buckridge had navigated the vessel until his death.

The enquiry was adjourned until to-morrow for the production of the deceaseds’  papers.

Wanganui Herald 8 January 1904


By 1905 the little yacht had been to returned to her builders Bailey and Lowe in Auckland

The yacht Kia Ora, which gained some notoriety about a year ago in connection with the attempt of Messrs Buckridge and Sowden to circumnavigate the globe, and which has been lying at Gisborne Wharf for a considerable time, and has been the object of much interest, has been returned to her builders, Messrs Bailey and Lowe, of Auckland.

Taranaki Herald 26 January 1905

The little yacht Kia Ora, in which Messrs Buckridge and Snowden started out from Gisborne last year to make the voyage to London, and which had to put back owing to the death of Mr Buckridge, has been taken to Auckland from Gisborne.

Wairarapa Daily Times 2 February 1905

A proposal by Captain Warwick to attempt an around the world voyage was met with one publication (The Poverty Bay Herald) with the Headliner "YACHT KIA ORA. ANOTHER FOOLHARDY EXPEDITION."


(Per Press Association.) AUCKLAND, this day.
Captain 0. Warwick proposes to take the yacht Kia Ora, on which the young man Buckeridge lost his life, on a cruise round the world, journeying from Auckland to Wellington, Adelaide, Mauritius, Capetown, and London.

Poverty Bay Herald 9 October 1905

Unfortunately, it seemed the Poverty Bay Herald proved to be right. In early November,  Kia Ora was yet again ashore near Tauranga. She was later refloated then towed back to the port of Tauranga for repairs. Only a few days after leaving Tauranga, the little vessel was yet again ashore this time at Opotoki.

THE YACHT KIA ORA.(Per Press Association.)
AUCKLAND, this day. The yacht Kia Ora, on a tour round the world, was driven ashore during a heavy gale at Pareotata Island, near Tauranga, on November Ist. The vessel was undamaged, and will probably be refloated easily.

Poverty Bay Herald 11 November 1905

The yacht Kia Ora, which went ashore last week at Matakana Island, Tauranga Heads, was towed by the steamer Katikati to Tauranga, where she will undergo an examination to see what damage she has sustained. The Kia Ora will sail shortly for Wellington.

                                                                                                        Wairarapa Daily Times 17 November 1905

The Auckland Herald's Opotiki correspondent telegraphs on Friday :— The yacht Kia Ora, which left Tauranga on Tuesday last for Gisborne, stranded near the entrance to the harbor this morning, and now lies high and dry a mile on the east side of the entrance. Captain Warwick, who was the sole occupant of the yacht, got ashore safely. He states that as ho had run short of water after leaving Tauranga. He made for Opotiki, but, missing the entrance, the yacht vent ashore. The Kia Ora has since been sold to local parties, who expect to get her floated tomorrow.

Poverty Bay Herald 27 November 1905

[press association.]
AUCKLAND, Nov. 20.
The yacht Kia Ora, which was stranded off Tauranga, went ashore at Opotiki, and has been sold to the natives there.

Marlborough Express 27 November 1905

By late December, it was being reported that the Kia Ora had been sold on and Warwick had all but abandoned his grand scheme to sail her around the world.

The yacht Kia Ora, which went ashore at Opotiki, has, it is reported, been sold to local parties, who expect to float her off the beach outside the entrance of the harbour. From this it may be inferred (says the Napier Telegraph) that Captain C. Warwick, who was the only occupant of the vessel, at the time of the wreck, the other members of the crew having left her at Tauranga, has decided to abandon his project of sailing to London and back.

Wanganui Herald 29 December 1905
 Captain Oswald Warwick, who started from Auckland some weeks ago, intending to go round the globe in the little yacht Kia Ora, has abandoned his scheme, and is now on his way overland to Wellington. The Kia Ora (Maori for " good luck ") has been anything but a lucky little craft. Buckridge, the young Englishman formerly of the Antarctic ship Discovery and later mate of the Tilikum, died on board the Kia Ora some time after he and Captain Sowden's son had started on a voyage round the world. Captain Warwick then decided to make the voyage in the yacht, but a few days after she bad left Auckland she was driven ashore at Opotiki. She was floated off and the voyage resumed, but ill-luck still pursued her, as she stranded again, this time near Tauranga. She has now been sold to an Opotiki syndicate for £25 to satisfy the debts incurred by Captain Warwick in connection with his undertaking.

Wairarapa Daily Times 8 January 1906

From this point on any references to Kia Ora may or may not be the same vessel. I've searched on anyway just to see if there are any records of her fate after she was sold in 1905.

By May of 1906, Kia Ora again (if it is the same vessel) was in trouble, when she parted her moorings at Lyttleton and ended up entangling with a dredge.

THE WEATHER.LYTTELTON. STEAMERS DELAYED. The southerly gale which began yesterday morning continued throughout last night and the early hours of this morning, but after sunrise moderated to a strong breeze, which blew throughout the forenoon. The accompanying squalls of rain and hail became less frequent during the early hours, and later on ceased altogether, giving place to a morning of sunshine. The sea remained rough, but it also gradually moderated as the day advanced. No serious damage was reported as the result of the gale. Nothing on shore was blown down, and the most notable instance of mishap on the water was not serious. It was the drifting of the yacht Kia Ora, which was anchored in the usual mooring ground for yachts, between No. 7 jetty and the dock. She drifted until her moorings became entangled with those of the dredge Mandheser. No damage to the vessel resulted, but it was about eight o'clock this morning before the entanglement was cleared, and the dredge lost considerable working time in consequence.
Star 23 May 1906


By December 1907 a transaction is recorded by the Tauranga Boating Club that the Kia Ora had changed hands. I beleive this is the same vessel that Buckridge made his circumnavigation attempt with.

Mr Cotton Murray has disposed of the well-known yacht Kia Ora to Mr J. Te Kuka.

Bay of Plenty Times 18 December 1907


Twelve months on she ( if it is the same vessel) is again in the news at Akaroa - this time with further damage from drifting in heavy winds. She is recorded as being under the ownership of Collins and Brown

The Kia Ora.—Messrs Collins and Brown's yacht, Kia Ora, which is moored just beyond the new Akaroa wharf, dragged her anchor on Wednesday night, and drifted against the wharf. She has damaged her decking considerably.

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser 18 December 1908


The same yacht (as above) is put up for auction in Akaroa by 'Mrs Hemingway" After 1912 there is no further record of this particular vessel.

W. D. WILKINS & SONS, Auctioneers.  
have received instructions from Mrs. Hemingway to 
Sell by Auction at the Old  Wharf, Akaroa, 
on  SATURDAY, l6TH MARCH, at 5 p.m.
With sails end gear complete, and with everything in readiness for fitting an engine into her.
  DINGHY, 12 feet, with oars and rowlocks.  Sundry fittings, anchors, etc.
 W. D. WILKINS & SONS,  Auctioneers.

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser 12 March 1912