New Zealand Coastal Shipping  


Many coasters which saw service in New Zealand waters were built in Dutch shipyards. The Northern Steam Ship Company of Auckland, Richardson & Co. of Napier, Anchor Shipping & Foundry Co. of Nelson and the Holm Shipping Company of Wellington all had ships constructed by various Dutch Shipyards to their own specifications. Details of most of these ships can be found on other pages on this site.

This page is devoted to those ships built to the more traditional Dutch motor coaster design that also saw service here.


499grt. 178.9' x 27.4' x 12.7'

Built 1946 by N.V. Haarlemsche Scheepswerven Maats, Haarlem, Holland as Speedwell for Captain In-t-veld, Rotterdam.

  • Nov 1950: Bought by Holm Shipping Co.
  • 6 Jan 1951: Arrived at Wellington after voyage Falmouth, Suez, Aden, Colombo, Singapore, Fremantle, Wellington. Renamed Holmlea. Entered service Raglan - Dunedin via way ports, with occasional voyages to Norfolk and Campbell Islands.

  • Speedwell
    Photo courtesy of Groninger Kustvaart

  • 10 Oct 1957: Struck Danger Reef, 10 miles north of Otago Heads, in thick fog. Keel ripped, engineroom flooded to 7 feet and listing badly, but continued under own power. Assisted into Otago Harbour by tug Otago. Repaired at Port Chalmers.
  • Jan 1958: Re-entered service. Tonnage 527 gross, 257 net.
  • Mar 1967: Sold to Rusmor Shipping Co., Vila, New Hebrides.
  • 21 Apr 1967: Arrived Onehunga on last voyage under Holm flag.

  • Holmlea at Lyttelton
    Photo: © S. Reed

  • Apr 1967: Renamed Wallisian and sailed for Fiji.
  • 7 May 1967: Ran aground on Nukutolo Reef, 130 miles NE of Suva and became total wreck. Passengers and crew rescued by the New Zealand minesweeper Kiama.

    492grt. 174' 2" x 27' 7" x 10' 8"

    Built 1956 by Scheepswerven Gebr. Niestern, Delfzijl, Holland and launched as Auriga for Swedish owners. Renamed Mypuck while fitting out.

    Mypuck on her trials
    Photo courtesy of L.M. Johannes

  • 1960: Sold to Tage R. Berndtsson Partrederi. Renamed Vingaren and registered in Skarhamn, Sweden.
  • 1976: Sold to Jean Osborn Oscarsson, Edshultshall, Sweden, renamed Borneland.
  • 1981: Sold to J. Belfraga, Sweden, renamed Alta Mar.
  • 1981: Sold to K.V.G. Hermansson, Skarhamn, Sweden, renamed Susanne.
  • 1982: Sold to Widenia A/B, renamed Widenia.
  • 1985: Sold to Bedan Pty., registry transferred from Sweden to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Same name.
  • 1985: Sold to Kevin John Mearns, same name and registry.
  • 1987: Sold to Sukanaivalu Shipping Co. Ltd., Suva, Fiji, renamed Sukanaivalu.
  • 1988: Sold to Brannehylte Handels A/B, renamed Widenia
  • May 1989: Sold to Pal Shipping Pty. Ltd., same name.
  • Jun 1989: Sold to Tevele International Ltd., Port Vila, same name.
  • 12 Jun 1990: Arrived Auckland from Australia with a cargo of explosives for the Royal New Zealand Navy. Found to be unseaworthy, having a hole in a ballast tank and various other defects. Detained by the authorities.
  • Sep/Oct 1990: Sold to Manuia Shipping Ltd., renamed Manuia, registered in Avatiu, Cook Islands.
  • Nov 1990: Sailed to Goodwood Island, NSW, Australia to load hardwood poles for Picton and Lyttelton.
  • Dec 1990: Laid up at Auckland.
  • 1994: Sold to Windomere Shipping Ltd., same name and registered in Belize. Two new Caterpillar diesel engines installed at Oram's slipway. Returned to lay-up at the Western Viaduct.
  • Jan 1995: Slipped at Marine Steel's yard for hull painting. Belize appeared on her stern as port of registry.

  • Manuia seen here at Auckland as a tuna fishing vessel.
    Photo: I.Lovie

  • Jan 1996: Prepared for service as a tuna fishing vessel. Working platform fitted over her stern, two 300-tonne brine tanks and refrigerators fitted in her hold. Operated by Petromont Fishing Company of Auckland, she commenced tuna fishing operations shortly thereafter.
  • 9 Oct 1996: Arrived at Auckland, sailing again in December.
  • Nov 1997: Back in Auckland berthed at Marine Steel's repair yard.
  • Feb/Mar 2003: Arrived at Tauranga and laid up at Slipway wharf.
  • Jul/Aug 2003: Sold to Mr. Dan Hennah for use in the re-make of the film "King Kong".
  • Aug 2003: All fishing gear removed and made ready for a coastal voyage as a "private yacht".
  • 2 Sep 2003: Sailed from Tauranga and arrived Wellington on the evening of 4 Sept, berthing at Aotea Quay.
  • 5 Sep 2003: Shifted to Miramar Wharf where she was carefully laid up with her anchors down.
  • 20 Apr 2004: Conversion work started to transform her into the s.s. Venture for her film role in "King Kong". Her water ballast tanks were emptied to raise the bows over which scaffolding was built to enable her bows to be straightened in keeping with ships of the 1920's. Her bridge wings were removed on 21 May.
  • Jun/Jul 2004: Bow plating finished, hull painted black with name Venture on bow and stern with port of registry as Palembang (for filming purposes). Subsequently changed to Surabaya.
  • Jul 2004: Officially registered as a New Zealand ship with the name Venture II and port of registry Wellington.
  • Dec 2004: Conversion completed.
  • 8 Dec 2004: Underwent trials on Wellington Harbour.
  • 7 Mar 2005: Sailed from Wellington at 1945 for a scheduled two weeks of filming for "King Kong".

    Venture II berthed at Miramar Wharf, Wellington, 22 December 2004.
    Photo: © M. Pryce

  • 8 Mar 2005: Crew forced to abandon ship when she sprung a leak and began to take on water off Kapiti Island. Those aboard were transferred to a support boat and taken to Kapiti Island while emergency repairs were carried out. A small hole in the bilge area of the hull was repaired with a temporary wooden plug and the water was pumped out.
  • 27 Sep 2005: Workers started removing all the "film-props" - deckhouses, funnel, etc from the ship at Miramar Wharf. Most had been removed by 5 October.

  • Venture II at Miramar Wharf, 1 October 2005.
    Photo: © M. Pryce

  • late 2005: Approval to scuttle the hulk 13 miles SW from Cape Palliser in Cook Strait was sought. Due to cost, this proposal was rejected.
  • 1 Feb 2006: The engines were removed ashore and further stripping work took place.
  • July 2006: Bought by Wellington property developer Phil Stratford for use as an attraction in a waterfront aquarium. The project was later abandoned.
  • Jan 2007: Port company CentrePort called in lawyers to deal with three derelict ships moored at Wellington's Miramar wharf. One of these included Manuia. The owner stated he was looking to sell the ship for scrap and that she would be gone within 30 days.
  • 10 Feb 2007: I personally visited the ship and she is in a very sorry state. It appears that the final chapter could be fast approaching.
  • More photos of Manuia (and as Venture) can be found in the Photo Gallery.


    398grt. 156' 11" x 24' 4" x 9' 7"

    Built 1953 by Schw. Worst & Dutmer, Meppel, Holland as Birgitte Basse for A.H. Basse, Copenhagen. Saw service in Baltic waters.

    Matipo arriving at Wellington
    Photo: I.Lovie

  • 1954: Sold to Anchor Shipping & Foundry Co. Ltd., Nelson. Renamed Matipo.
  • 8 Jan 1955: Arrived Wellington. Employed mainly on short Cook Strait runs from Nelson and nearby provincial ports (Mapua & Motueka) to Wellington.
  • 23 Mar 1958: Broke down Tasman Bay, drifted for nine hours until taken in tow by Willomee for Nelson.
  • 8 Jan 1964: Struck Walker Rock near Cape Jackson at 0315 in severe weather. Temporary repairs made in nearby French Pass and permanent repairs carried out in Wellington Dock.
  • 29 Jan 1968: Final crossing of Cook Strait.
  • 1968: Sold to Captain Athol Rusden for service between Auckland and Vila.
  • 1 May 1968: Fire damaged accommodation while berthed at Auckland.
  • 2 May 1968: Ship sailed for Noumea after temporary repairs made.
  • 7 May 1968: During heavy seas at 0145, she ran aground on a reef some 30 miles from Noumea. All attempts at salvage over the succeeding months failed.
  • 2 Feb 1969: Refloated herself during Cyclone Colleen.
  • 1969: After repairs at Whangarei, sold to Ballande Australia Pty. Ltd.
  • 1969: Almost immediately resold to Societe du Chalandage, Noumea. Employed in carrying limestone from Moro Islands to Noumea.
  • 1981: After a long lay-up in Numbo Bay, she was fitted to carry sand from Puen Island to Noumea - a round trip of approximately 70 miles.

  • Matipo in Noumea Lagoon, 19 July 1993
    Photo: © Yvon Perchoc

  • 1994: Laid up at Noumea.
  • 1997: Converted to floating restaurant, Noumea.
  • Mar 2002: Reported as lying idle anchored in the inner harbour, Noumea.

    347grt. 162' 5" x 25' 10" x 9' 6"

    Built 1958 by Bodewes Scheepswerf Volharding, Foxhol, Holland for Wilson's (NZ) Portland Cement Ltd., Auckland. Engaged in the carriage of bagged cement from Portland to Auckland and later to Tauranga, Gisborne and Napier.

    Nathaniel Wilson
    Photo: I.Lovie

  • 1968: Sold to Torres Shipping Pty. Ltd., Queensland, Australia. Registered in Port Moresby. Same name. Refitted at Brisbane and converted into floating prawn processing and snap freezing plant.
  • Dec 1968: Struck reef near Cooktown, little damage and able to return to Cairns under her own power for repairs.
  • 1976: Sold to Government of Papua New Guinea (Dept. of Transport and Civil Aviation). Renamed Agilani.
  • 1986: Sold to Markworth Shipping Co., Solomon Islands. Renamed Kristen M.
  • 20 Oct 1990: Suffered an explosion in her cargo whilst on passage Yandina to Batuna. Abandoned and presumed to have sunk.

    397grt. 150' 5" x 25' 2" x 9' 9"

    Built 1951 by De Hoop N.V., Lobith, Holland for Wanganui Shipping Company. Traded Wanganui to Timaru with calls at Wellington and Lyttelton.

    River City
    Photo: © D. Wright

  • July 1964: Sold to Holm Shipping Co. Ltd. Renamed Holmbrae. Traded between Timaru, Lyttelton, Wellington and New Plymouth. When the service was extended to Raglan and Onehunga, insufficient carrying capacity saw her withdrawn.
  • 1966: Sold to Captain A.R. Rusden, Port Vila. Renamed Paulmarkson.
  • 1969: Sold to Comptoirs Francais des Nouvelles-Hebrides, Port Vila. Renamed Henri Bonneaud.
  • 1988: Withdrawn from service and laid up at Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu.
  • late 1989: Sold to Aquamarine Diving (Kevin Green), Vanuatu. Same name.
  • 19 Dec 1989: Scuttled for use as a recreational dive wreck off Bokissa Island Resort, Vanuatu. Sitting on her keel in approximately 40 metres of water.

  • The River City in later life as Henri Bonneaud
    Photo courtesy of L.M. Johannes


    345grt. 143' 6" x 24' 1" x 9' 11"

    Built 1938 by N.V. Scheepswerf Vooruitgang, Gebr. Suurmeijer, Foxhol, Holland, for W.J. Kramer, Groningen, Holland.

    Photo courtesy of L.M. Johannes

  • 16 May 1940: Taken over by the Netherlands Shipping & Trading Committee, London. Managed by Freight Express, London.
  • 1 Jun 1945: Reverted to W.J. Kramer, Groningen.
  • 16 Mar 1951: Sold to Gebr.van Diepen, Waterhuizen.
  • 24 Dec 1952: Sold to N.V. Express, Groningen.
  • 3 Aug 1953: Sold to Cement Freighters Ltd., Auckland.
  • 27 Nov 1953: Arrived Auckland via Wellington. Entered the bagged cement trade from Portland to Auckland.
  • 13 Oct 1960: Departed Portland for Auckland on her last voyage. Replaced by larger purpose-built bulk cement carriers.
  • Oct 1960: Sold to Hobart Transport Commission for the East Coast of Tasmania and Flinders Island service.
  • 7 Nov 1960: Departed Auckland for Hobart towing the former Devonport vehicular ferry Ewen W. Alison. Ferry took on water in heavy seas and a return to Auckland was made for repairs.
  • 18 Nov 1960: Second departure from Auckland with ferry in tow.
  • 10 Dec 1960: Arrived in Hobart after a call en route at Eden, New South Wales.
  • 11 Jan 1961: First departure for her new owners from Hobart to Flinders Island.
  • 1968: Sold to Pen Pak Ocean Products Pty. Ltd., Bowen, Queensland. Converted to deep-sea trawler(!!!).
  • 15 Sept 1976: Scuttled off Cairns, Queensland.

    285grt. 132' 11" x 23' 1" x 8' 2"

    Built 1952 by Scheepswerf Gebr. Niestern, Delfzijl, for North Westland Shipping Co. Ltd., Hokitika, New Zealand.

    Photo courtesy of L.M. Johannes

    Traded on the west coast of the South Island for a short time until chartered to Anchor Shipping & Foundry Co., of Nelson for their daily Wellington/Nelson service. She then went to Gisborne Sheepfarmers Frozen Meat & Mercantile Co., for their Gisborne to Auckland service while Turihaua underwent repairs.

  • 1956: Sold to Burns Philp (South Sea) Co. Ltd., Suva.
  • 1975: Sold to Pacific Engineering & Salvage Co. Ltd., Port Vila.
  • 1976: To Fret Pacifique S.A.R.L., Port Vila.
  • 1978: To Captain E. Sands & Partners, Suva.
  • 28 Feb 1978: To Zephyr Shipping Co. Ltd., Suva.
  • 1978: To Ocean Shipping Ltd., Suva.
  • 1982: To Hazan Raza Shipping Ltd., Suva.
  • 1984: To Blue Ocean Fisheries Ltd., Suva.
  • Through all these changes she carried her original name of Zephyr II.

  • 20 Nov 1989: Sold to Mat Trading Ltd., Tarawa. Renamed Mat 1.
  • The owner of this Company died in 1998 and the ship was laid up at anchor off Betio port in South Tarawa, Solomon Islands. She soon became derelict and sank at her moorings with some of her superstructure still visible.

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