New Zealand Coastal Shipping  


Kaiapoi is a town of 9,255 people (2001 Census) situated on the banks of the Kaiapoi River and is a tributary of the Waimakariri River, a substantial river which has its origins deep in the Southern Alps of New Zealand's South Island. This flows out into the Pacific Ocean on the east coast and has a Bar at the entrance which frequently alters in depth and position. This restricted the Port to high-tide operation only and to vessels of approximately 7-foot draught. The wharf at Kaiapoi was 2 1/2 miles from the entrance.

Although the name of the first vessel to make the trip up the river has not been recorded (not that I can find anyway), a regular monthly service was first started by a George Day of Sumner between Heathcote and Kaiapoi in 1852 with his Flirt. However this page is not concerned with the early history, just the last period in which the Port operated commercially from 1958 to 1967.

In 1958, the Kaiapoi Borough Council which had taken over the interests of the Waimakariri Harbour Board when it was abolished in 1946, was persuaded to re-open the Port due to congestion at Lyttelton. Discussions were held with the Collingwood Shipping Company of Nelson and they were prepared to commit two vessels to the trade to Wellington. Before the Port could re-open, some repairs were necessary to the wharf as it had been over twenty years since it had last been used commercially. This was estimated to cost 980 pounds, but when the final account was presented, the total cost had leaped to 1,593 pounds. The riverbed was also dredged in the vicinity of the wharf so that ships could sit evenly at low tide.

The wharf at Kaiapoi in April 2004
Photo: © D. Shepherd

At 7.15am on Sunday 16 November 1958, the 124-ton Paroto safely crossed the Bar and berthed at the wharf at 8.15am. She was watched with interest by hundreds of people who lined the banks of the river and the shoreline. Despite the many spectators on the wharf and the Official Welcome, the first truckload of cargo was on its way to Christchurch by 8.45am. Cargo was quickly exchanged and the ship departed the following Wednesday on the tide at 10.15am. Next came the 158-ton Ranginui on 20 November. She came in half-laden from Lyttelton and topped off with barley, flour, foodstuffs and building materials before sailing for Wellington on the 22nd.

The two ships quickly settled into service offering a twice-weekly service to Wellington. When the Ranginui went for survey and major engine repairs in January 1959, she was replaced by the 150-ton Picton owned by the Southern Cross Shipping Co., a company with close ties to the Holm Shipping Co. Picton had a deeper draught than the other ships at approximately 9 feet, which meant that she was not entirely suited to the trade, a fact that was emphasised when she went aground at the entrance on 11 July 1959. She grounded again in 1961, from 12 - 18 May and it was serious enough to warrant her being towed to Lyttelton by the Lyttelton Harbour Board pilot launch Wairangi for repairs on the 31 May. Picton only made one more visit after that - in October 1961.

Ranginui at Kaiapoi in Inter-Island Shipping Company colours
Photo: © S. Reed

The Collingwood Shipping Company was taken over by the Inter-Island Shipping Company in 1960, with Ranginui and Paroto transferred to their ownership in October 1960. Trade continued to build up and by early 1961 extra tonnage was required. This came in the form of the Taupata a ship of 268grt and 117' 6" in length, which was the largest ship to enter the Port in this period. She made her first visit on 18 March 1961.

Competition for the Inter-Island Company also arrived in 1961, when the Kaiapoi Shipping Company was formed. This was a Company born of major Kaiapoi merchant C.Morgan Williams & Son and their first ship the Toa of 215grt arrived for the first time on 16 April 1961.

With two companies now operating into the Port, it became a very busy place. 1961 saw 123 arrivals, 1962 - 155 arrivals and 1963 - 157 arrivals. Based on a purely arrival and departure basis this put Kaiapoi almost on a par with Onehunga (one of the busiest coastal ports in the country) and ahead of the likes of Oamaru and Westport. When put on a net tonnage and tonnage of cargo handled basis, the picture changed quite dramatically!

The Kaiapoi Shipping Company bought a second ship in early 1962 - the Tuhoe - from Eckfords of Blenheim. She was towed from the Wairau Bay where she had been laid up to Lyttelton by the N.S.S.Co's Poranui. In a sorry state, she even suffered the indignity of grass growing out of her decks! However, a spell on the Lyttelton slipway did wonders and Tuhoe made her first arrival at Kaiapoi on 26 April 1962, trading at first to Wellington, before starting a service to Napier and Gisborne in September 1962.

The Inter-Island Shipping Company also bought another ship in 1962 (was this a counter-punch?) - the Waiotahi from A.G.Frankham Ltd., of Auckland. Another large ship for the river at 208grt and 107' in length, she made her first call on 9 August 1962.

Waiotahi with the Tuhoe and Toa at Kaiapoi circa 1963
Photo: © D. Reed

The busiest year was 1963 when 35,253 tons of cargo was handled in 157 ships. Here is the arrival/departure list for August of that year:

Ship                          Arrived/Departed            Notes
Paroto                              Aug 3   1345
Toa                        1530   2 Aug 3   1400        ex Lyttelton
Ranginui                   1500   3 Aug 6   1615
Tuhoe                      1515   3 Aug 6   1630
Kohi                       1545   3 Aug 11  0900            99grt
Paroto                     1000  11 Aug 14  1045
Toa                        1015  12 Aug 14  1050
Ranginui                   1140  14 Aug 15  1245
Kohi                       1325  15 Aug 17  1300
Paroto                     1400  17 Aug 20  1705
Toa                        1450  18 Aug 21  0620
Ranginui                   1745  20 Aug 24  0730
Tuhoe                      0740  21 Aug 23  0830
Kohi                       0930  24 Aug 27  0945
Paroto                     1000  25 Aug 27  1030
Toa                        1130  28 Aug 30  1140
Waiotahi                   1230  30 Aug 31  1245       ex Lytt. No cargo
Ranginui                   1245  30 Aug
Tuhoe                      1400  31 Aug

In November 1963, the Kaiapoi Shipping Company went into liquidation. The Tuhoe had arrived on 27 October and was laid up, with Toa following on the 20 November. The Tuhoe was converted into a line fishing vessel, sailed on the 16 November and spent the next six months fishing off the Chatham Islands, before putting into Wellington with a serious leak. She was declared unseaworthy, escorted to Kaiapoi and laid up. The Toa was issued with a writ for 1,464 pounds by the Borough Council, but this was lifted shortly afterwards to enable her to be used as a fishing vessel. I am unsure of her exact movements, but she was in Kaiapoi for the last time between 25 September and 25 October 1967 arriving from and departing for Lyttelton.

Port of Kaiapoi circa 1965. From left: Ranginui, Paroto, (working cargo) Toa, Tuhoe (laid up)
Photo: © D. Reed

Two major improvements were made to the Port in 1964. With so many ships using the river, the Kaiapoi Borough Council had a pilot boat built for them by Stark's of Lyttelton. This was leased to the Inter-Island Shipping Company as they were responsible for the safe navigation of all ships in and out of the Port. Named Kaiapoi, she was 30ft long with a draught of 3ft and powered by a 20hp diesel engine. After piloting the Toa out of the Port on 25 October 1967, she foundered on the Bar, but was salvaged by the Lyttelton pilot launch Wairangi and repaired at Lyttelton.

The other improvement was the provision of a new Cargo Shed. With the imminent completion of the Christchurch - Lyttelton Road Tunnel and the upcoming introduction of roll-on/roll-off vessels to the Steamer Express Service to Wellington, it was felt that to enable Kaiapoi to compete, it was important to have a safe and secure building for cargo to be stored awaiting delivery or shipment. This enabled road transport to be run full both ways and the Inter-Island Company provided a forklift to speed up handling.

Throughout 1964 and 1965, Paroto, Ranginui and Waiotahi maintained a regular service to Wellington. Although the introduction of the Rail ferry Aramoana to the Wellington - Picton run in 1962 affected the amount of cargo offering, the introduction of the second ship Aranui in 1966 had a dramatic effect on all coastal cargo services.

Another severe blow was the loss of the Paroto on 3 August 1966. Southbound from Wellington to Kaiapoi with 90 tons of cargo, she ran aground in thick fog on Point Gibson at the southern end of Gore Bay. Her crew of six were able to land safely and it was initially hoped that if her cargo could be landed with the help of a breeches buoy, it may be possible to refloat her. Two days after going ashore though, she began to break up and became a total loss.

Newspaper clipping from the Christchurch Star 3 August 1966
Courtesy of S. Reed

Towards the end of 1966, the amount of cargo offering was beginning to fall and on 22 December, the Waiotahi was laid up leaving just the Ranginui in service. In February 1967, the Ranginui laid up after her arrival from Wellington on 18 February and the Waiotahi replaced her, sailing on the 20 February. Also in February, Kaiapoi had its only visit by a Naval vessel when the launch Pegasus arrived at 0600 on the 11th, sailing at 1730 the same day.

Waiotahi carried on, but by the middle of the year was also including Lyttelton in her itinerary and on some occasions arriving empty. She brought in her last cargo from Wellington on 29 October 1967 and sailed empty on 1 November for Waitapu in Golden Bay where she loaded butter. This was landed in Kaiapoi on the 6 November after which Waiotahi was laid up.

Although the Rail ferries had contributed to the Port's demise, it was the cost of handling the ships that put the Port out of business. It cost 11 shillings 6 pence per ton to load cargo at Kaiapoi, but 46 shillings per ton to unload it in Wellington. The Borough Council had attempted to come to a special arrangement with the Wellington Harbour Board over the charges, but this failed.

The Port's nine-year revival had not been unprofitable. The Mayor (Mr H.O. Hills) outlined the position thus: "Approximately $114,000 of buildings and property is owned freehold by the board and cash reserves, in the current and building reserve accounts, amount to approximately $3,600, plus the value of the pilot launch and overdue wharfages. As all harbour improvements have been paid for out of revenue and there are no loans, the harbour's assets are more than $139,000".

The Port was declared officially closed in 1969, but the Kaiapoi Borough Council preferred the words "suspended, pending further business".

The Tuhoe remains in Kaiapoi and has been running regular cruises on the River since 1983 after her restoration by the Tuhoe Preservation Society.

Tuhoe departing Kaiapoi wharf on one of her regular cruises
Photo: © S. Reed


An occupational hazard for ships regularly working the Port was stranding on the Waimakariri Bar at the entrance to the River. This is a list I have compiled from various sources but may not be complete

  • 1958: None
  • 1959: Paroto 1 - 4 May, Picton 11 July
  • 1960: None, although Paroto bumped on the Bar outbound 14 December
  • 1961: Picton 12 - 18 May, Taupata 12 - 14 December
  • 1962: None, although Paroto pooped while crossing Bar inbound 31 January. Lifeboat damaged.
  • 1963: Waiotahi 28 June? Tuhoe 29 June - 1 July
  • 1964: None
  • 1965: Ranginui 22 - 25 July
  • 1966: None
  • 1967: None

  • Waiotahi aground at the River Mouth, July 1966
    Photo: © S. Reed

    UPDATE: I am grateful to S. Reed for the following extra information on Strandings.

  • 1965 (date unknown): Waiotahi was refloated after several attempts following beaching for minor repairs
  • 6 July 1966: Waiotahi stranded on a mudbank in the Waimakariri River (possibly the occasion when the Captain attempted to return to Kaiapoi due to foggy conditions)
  • 1966: One week after the above, Waiotahi stranded while inbound from Wellington with 150 tons of cargo

  • A seaman's graffiti! Still there after 40-odd years. January 2004
    Photo: © D. Shepherd


    This page details the histories of all the ships that called to the Port of Kaiapoi between 1958 and 1967. As will be seen, most of these ships were not young, but their longevity is a tribute to their builders and many lasted for a few more years after they left Kaiapoi.

    The ships are listed in the order that they first visited Kaiapoi and at the foot of the page, some details of harbour craft used.


    128grt. 89' 0" x 23' 4" x 6' 7"

    Built 1914 by G.T. Niccol, Auckland, as an auxiliary ketch for the Northern S.S. Co. Ltd., Auckland. Traded from Auckland to Matakana, Algies Bay, Warkworth, Mahurangi, Kerikeri, Purerua, Whananaki and Whangaruru.

  • 1948: Sold to Richardson & Co., Napier, but found unsuitable for their trades.
  • 1949: Sold to Collingwood Shipping Co., Nelson.
  • 1950: Converted to full motor ship with twin 114bhp diesel engines.
  • 16 Nov 1958: First visit to Kaiapoi, re-opening the Port.
  • 1 May 1959: Stranded Waimakariri Bar inbound. Refloated 4 May.
  • 1960: Ownership transferred to Inter-Island Shipping Co., Nelson.

  • Paroto at Wellington in the 1960's
    Photo: I. Lovie

  • 14 Dec 1960: Bumped Waimakariri Bar outbound.
  • 1961: Re-engined with twin 98bhp diesels.
  • 31 Jan 1962: Pooped while crossing Waimakariri Bar inbound, lifeboat damaged.
  • 3 Aug 1966: Ran aground in thick fog at Point Gibson, North Canterbury on passage Wellington to Kaiapoi. Became a constructive total loss.

  • The end for Paroto
    Photo courtesy of D. Ball


    158grt. 106' 7" x 22' 1" x 6' 0"

    Built 1936 by Scott & Sons, Bowling, Glasgow, for G.T. Niccol, Auckland. Sold to Northern S.S. Co. Ltd., Auckland in 1937. Traded Auckland to Whangarei and Tauranga, but did sometimes go as far as Opotiki.

    Ranginui at Wellington
    Photo: I. Lovie

  • 30 Oct 1940: Ashore in the Bay of Islands.
  • 26 Nov 1941: Ashore Waihou River.
  • 29 Apr 1947: Ashore Whangarei.
  • 9 Apr 1948: Machinery damage off North Auckland coast.
  • 28 Oct 1949: Aground near Auckland.
  • Dec 1957: Sold to Collingwood Shipping Co., Nelson, for Wellington - Lyttelton trade.
  • 20 Nov 1958: First visit to Kaiapoi.
  • 14 Feb 1959: Laid up Shelly Bay, Wellington for major engine repairs.
  • Feb 1967: Laid up at Kaiapoi.
  • Nov 1967: Sold to Luggate Game Packers, converted for use as a helicopter base for venison recovery operations in Fiordland.
  • Aug 1968: Laid up at Port Chalmers after being replaced by the larger Hotunui.
  • Nov 1970: Turned up at Kaiapoi again.
  • Aug 1972: Sold to Caribbean Pacific Enterprise Inc., but sale fell through and ship never left Kaiapoi.
  • 27 Mar 1975: Sailed from Kaiapoi for Lyttelton.
  • 1976: Sold to Alpine Helicopters for further use as helicopter base in Fiordland.
  • 1986: Went to Bluff for major refit and maintenance.
  • 1987: Returned to Fiordland for use as a recreational base for Sir Tim Wallis and family.
  • 8 May 1995: Sank in Breaksea Sound while unattended.

    143grt. 87' 7" x 22' 0" x 9' 6"

    Built 1917 by T. Brown & Sons, Te Kopuru, for Richardson & Co., Napier, as Koau. Fitted with an insulated hold, she was employed in the frozen meat feeder services from Tokomaru Bay, Wairoa to Napier and Picton, Nelson to Wellington.

    Picton outward bound from Kaiapoi
    Photo courtesy of D. Ball

  • 17 July 1918: Stranded, Wairoa River.
  • 2 Nov 1926: Stranded, Wangaehu Bay.
  • 2 Jan 1929: Collided with launch Venture at Napier.
  • Sept-Nov 1929: Re-engined with twin Fairbanks-Morse diesels.
  • 22 Nov 1933: Collided with launch Doris at Napier.
  • 26 Feb 1935: Damage to port engine on passage Tolaga Bay to Napier.
  • 28 Nov 1940: Damaged propellers.
  • 27 Apr 1941: Collided with lighter Moa at Napier.
  • 11 Jun 1942: Broke tailshaft off Hawke's Bay.
  • 1951: Laid up.
  • Apr 1952: Sold to Southern Cross Shipping Company, Picton. (Holm & Co., managers). Traded Wellington to Lyttelton and Nelson Bay ports.
  • Sept 1952: Renamed Picton. Same owners.
  • 1955: Re-engined with twin Gardner diesels.
  • 2 Jan 1959: Stranded on mudbank at Waitapu. Refloated three days later.
  • 8 Jan 1959: First visit to Kaiapoi.
  • 12 Jan 1959: Struck by trawler Taiaroa at Wellington.
  • 12 May 1961: Stranded Waimakariri Bar inbound from Wellington. Refloated six days later and berthed at Kaiapoi.

  • Picton aground Waimakariri Bar, May 1961
    Photo: © S. Reed

  • 31 May 1961: Towed to Lyttelton for repairs by Lyttelton Harbour Board pilot boat Wairangi.
  • 1963: Laid up at Wellington.
  • June 1964: Sold to Picton Fishing Company for line and crayfishing at Chatham Islands.
  • 10 July 1966: Hull damaged when cradle bearer collapsed on the Lyttelton Patent Slip.
  • 20 July 1978: Wrecked at Raoul Island while under charter to Ministry of Transport. Crew rescued by HMNZS Tui.

    268grt. 117' 6" x 26' 2" x --

    Built 1930 by G.T. Niccol, Auckland and sold while fitting out to Anchor Shipping & Foundry Co. Ltd., Nelson. She saw service in the Pacific during World War II as YAG26 from June 1943 to July 1944, after which she was returned to the Anchor Company.

    Photo courtesy of D. Ball

  • 1949: Sold to Pearl Kasper Shipping Co., Nelson.
  • 18 Mar 1961: First visit to Kaiapoi. Her last call was early May 1962.
  • 12 Dec 1961: Stranded Waimakariri Bar. Refloated 14 December.
  • 1962: Sold to Coastal Services (Motueka) Ltd., Nelson.
  • 1965: Damaged by fire, laid up and offered for sale.
  • Feb 1967: Reported sold for use as a mother ship for crayfishing around the Seychelle Islands.
  • 16 Mar 1967: Sailed from Lyttelton after a refit for the Seychelles.
  • 1971: Sold to Taupata Fishing Corp., Port Moresby.
  • Taupata became somewhat elusive after this, but she was seen in Ballina, NSW in the 1970's and Sydney in 1977. In June 1980, Lloyds Supplement listed her as operating as a pleasure craft.
    Where is she now?

    Newspaper clipping courtesy of S. Reed


    215grt. 107' 0" x 26' 4" x 7' 4"

    Built 1927 by G.T. Niccol, Auckland for the Northern S.S. Co. Ltd., Auckland. Traded Auckland to Whitianga, Tauranga and Whakatane. She was the last cargo ship to call at Whakatane in June 1960.

    Toa whilst under Northern S.S. Co. ownership
    Photo: © D. Brigham

  • 7 Nov 1929: Struck groyne at Whakatane.
  • 18 Mar 1932: Stranded at Whakatane.
  • 8 Nov 1938: Stranded at Whakatane.
  • 30 Jun 1939: Stranded at Whakatane.
  • 12 Sep 1944: Damaged rudder at Whakatane.
  • 2 Dec 1947: Stranded at Whakatane.
  • 25 May 1950: Stranded at Whakatane.
  • 1961: Sold to Kaiapoi Shipping Co., Christchurch.
  • 16 Apr 1961: First visit to Kaiapoi. I think she may have come direct from Auckland.
  • Nov 1963: Kaiapoi Shipping Co. went into liquidation and Toa was converted into a line fishing vessel. As such she worked around the Chatham Islands and Tonga.
  • 25 Sep 1967: Arrived at Kaiapoi from Lyttelton.
  • 25 Oct 1967: Sailed for Lyttelton. This was the last time she was seen at Kaiapoi.
  • Dec 1974: Sold at auction by Auckland Harbour Board to recover unpaid charges. She had been laid up at Auckland for some time and apparently had been abandoned by her owners. Bought by Mahmoud Raza of Suva, Fiji for further trading. Renamed Paerimu, she was refitted at Auckland before sailing.
  • Feb 1981: Sank at her moorings in the Bay of Islands, Fiji.
  • MOTU

    197grt. 99' 8" x 24' 9" x 7'

    Built 1920 by G.T. Niccol, Auckland, as an auxiliary schooner for the Northern S.S. Co. Ltd., Auckland. Traded from Auckland to Awanui, Tairua and Opotiki.

  • 1922: Altered to auxiliary ketch.
  • 20 Oct 1922: Engine trouble off Waiheke Island.
  • 23 Apr 1923: Stranded at Opotiki.
  • 8 Jul 1934: Went ashore somewhere in the Hauraki Gulf.
  • 6 Aug 1935: Lost propeller at Awanui.
  • Aug 1938: Converted to a motor vessel.
  • 21 Feb 1939: Lost propeller at Awanui.
  • 11 Sept 1941: Struck Castle Rock.
  • 14 May 1948: Struck "submerged object" near Whakatane.
  • 1949: Sold to Karamea Shipping Co., traded from Wellington to Tasman Bay ports and Lyttelton.
  • 21 Oct 1961: First of only two visits to Kaiapoi.
  • 27 Feb 1962: While berthed at Lyttelton, she was accidently crushed by the inter-island ferry Maori and damaged beyond economic repair.

  • Motu at Lyttelton after her collsion with Maori
    Photo: Christchurch Star, courtesy of N. Tolerton

  • 1962: Sold to Skeggs Fisheries Ltd., Dunedin and towed to Port Chalmers. Stripped down and engines removed.
  • 8 Jun 1964: Hull destroyed by burning at Dunedin.

    199grt. 97' 8" x 24' 8" x 6' 5"

    Built 1919 by G.T. Niccol, Auckland for Northern S.S. Co. Ltd., Auckland. Traded from Auckland to Northland and Bay of Plenty ports, also to the inland port of Paeroa up the Waihou River. In World War II, she saw service in the south-west Pacific from 1942 to 1945. Tuhoe was the last cargo ship to call at Opotiki in August 1957.

    Tuhoe under Northern S.S. Company ownership
    Photo: © D. Brigham

  • 19 Feb 1923: Fire onboard at Auckland.
  • 23 Jul 1923: Struck bridge crossing the estuary at Whangarei.
  • 2 Sep 1924: Damaged, Whangarei.
  • 12 May 1926: Damaged, Awanui River.
  • 12 Aug 1927: Struck that bridge again, Whangarei.
  • 13 Jan 1929: Collided with Coronation, Awanui River.
  • 7 Dec 1929: Another collision with Coronation, this time at Auckland.
  • 1 Jan 1934: Sustained "damage", Hauraki Gulf.
  • 10 Jan 1934: Ran aground, Whakatane.
  • 14 Feb 1934: Ran ashore, Ohiwa.
  • 14 Oct 1937: Got "stuck", Waihou River.
  • 3 Oct 1947: Fire onboard.
  • 15 Apr 1950: Ran onto Whale Island, Bay of Plenty.
  • 2 Jan 1951: Collided with yacht, Onerahi, Whangarei harbour.
  • late 1961: Sold to Eckford's of Blenheim after a lengthy lay-up at Auckland. Proved unsuitable however, for their Blenheim to Wellington service.
  • Feb 1962: Sold to Kaiapoi Shipping Co., Christchurch and towed by the Poranui from Wairau Bay to Lyttelton where she was refitted.
  • 26 Apr 1962: First visit to Kaiapoi.
  • 29 Jun 1963: Stranded, Waimakariri Bar. Refloated 1 July.
  • Nov 1963: Kaiapoi Shipping Company went into liquidation. Converted into a line fishing vessel.
  • early 1964: Put into Wellington with a serious leak, declared unseaworthy, escorted to Kaiapoi and laid up.
  • 1982: Restoration started by Tuhoe Preservation Society.
  • 31 Oct 1983: First trip as a tourist vessel. Sailed from Kaiapoi to Kairaki at the mouth of the Waimakariri River and return.

  • Tuhoe laid up in Kaiapoi in the 1960's
    Photo: © S. Reed

    These trips continued until early 2002, when after a dispute between the Preservation Society and the Tuhoe's owners, the Cure Boating Club, led to the winding up of the Society. The ship was then laid up, her future uncertain. The Cure Boating Club put her up for sale by tender and there was a very real possibility that the ship may have left Kaiapoi for good. However, in January 2004 a tender jointly submitted by Mainpower New Zealand and Kaiapoi Electricity was accepted ensuring that Tuhoe will remain in Kaiapoi. Work was undertaken to bring her up to survey condition.

  • 8 Aug 2004: Sailed at approximately 10.00am for Lyttelton for dry-docking.
  • 4 Sep 2004: Returned to Kaiapoi crossing the bar at approximately 8.00am.

  • Tuhoe crossing a placid Waimakariri River bar on 4 Sept 2004.
    Photo: © S. Reed

  • 19 June 2005: Re-entered service on the River with a 1.00pm sailing from Kaiapoi to the River Mouth and return.

    208grt. 107' 0" x 25' 2" x 7' 2"

    Built 1932 by G.T. Niccol, Auckland for his own use as Atua. She was the last ship built by Niccol before dismantling their slip at Freemans Bay. Bought by Northern S.S. Co. Ltd., Auckland and renamed Waiotahi. Traded mainly from Auckland to Tauranga, Whakatane and Opotiki.

    Waiotahi at Wellington in Inter-Island Shipping Co. colours
    Photo: I. Lovie

  • 20 Jan 1939: Stranded at Opotiki.
  • 18 May 1939: Stranded at Opotiki.
  • 24 May 1939: Rudder damage off Raurima Island.
  • 7 Jun 1939: Rudder damage off Mercury Island.
  • 16 Mar 1950: Collided with the Fairmile Motunui at Auckland.
  • 1961: Sold to A.G. Frankham Ltd., Auckland for their Auckland to Gisborne run.
  • 1962: Sold to Inter-Island Shipping Co., Nelson to supplement Paroto and Ranginui on the Wellington - Kaiapoi trade.
  • 9 Aug 1962: First visit to Kaiapoi.
  • Jul 1966: Stranded Waimakariri Bar inbound from Wellington.
  • 6 Nov 1967: Arrived from Waitapu (Golden Bay) with a cargo of butter. This was the last commercial cargo handled at Kaiapoi. Laid up at Kaiapoi.
  • 1968: Sold to Mr. F. Fawcett-Kay, Solomon Islands.
  • 16 Aug 1968: Sailed from Kaiapoi.
  • Oct 1973: Scuttled in Rabaul harbour, Solomon Islands, due to hull deterioration and action of teredo worm.
  • KOHI

    99grt. 92' 6" x 27' 6" x 4' 2"

    Built by G.T. Niccol, Auckland for a Captain Somerville as Caed-Mile-Failte. Renamed Kohi when sold to the Biddick family in 1914 and used in the stock trade around the Hauraki Gulf. The only scow to trade to Kaiapoi in the 1958-1967 period.

    Kohi entering the Waimakariri River in 1963
    Photo: Capt. Paddy Leahy Collection, coutesy of M. Berthold

  • 1911: Stranded, Whangaroa.
  • 1927: In collision, Wellington.
  • 1929: In collision, Wellington.
  • 1932: Stranded, Golden Bay.
  • 1938: In collision, Wellington.
  • 1940: In collision, Wellington.
  • 1941: Caught fire, location unknown.
  • 1941: In ownership of Tasman Bay Shipping Co. Ltd.
  • Saw overseas service during World War II.
  • 1945: Bought by Eckford Shipping Co., Blenheim.
  • 1948: Sold to Parry Bros., Auckland.
  • 1948: Stranded, Whangaparaoa.
  • 1963: In ownership of Sullivan Shipping Co.
  • 20 Jul 1963: First of four visits to Kaiapoi.
  • 1965/1966: Laid up at Waitapu.
  • 1967: Towed from Waitapu to Westhaven Inlet - on the South Island's west coast just below Farewell Spit - for use as a fishing boat landing.
  • Kohi can still be seen beached on the mud lying derelict alongside the wharf.

    Two other vessels also called at Kaiapoi during this era, but neither carried cargo. One was the former Fairmile Marlyn, which was by this stage of her life a fishing vessel. She called on 1 July 1962 for half an hour (!!).The other was HMNZS Pegasus, a Naval Reserve launch based at Lyttelton. Kaiapoi's only Naval visitor called for a day on 11 February 1967.

    Harbour Craft


    Pilot launch and workboat from 1958 to 1964.
    Further details unknown.


    Pilot launch and workboat.
    29' 11" x 8' 6" x 3' 5"

    Built 1964 by Stark Bros., Lyttelton, for Kaiapoi Borough Council, but operated by Inter-Island Shipping Company. Used as a pilot launch/workboat and fitted with a towing bollard for light towage work.

    The pilot boat Kaiapoi
    Photo courtesy of Kaiapoi Library

  • 25 Oct 1967: After escorting Toa outwards over the bar, she was swept by an unusually heavy sea, stoving in the wheelhouse windows and flooding the hull. The two men aboard escaped safely and unharmed.
  • 26 Oct 1967: With a "buoyancy umbrella" of nine empty 44-gallon drums on the surface, the Kaiapoi made a seven hour submarine voyage to Lyttelton under tow of the Lyttelton Harbour Board's pilot cutter Wairangi. On arrival, she was pumped out by the Lyttelton Volunteer Fire Brigade. Repairs were carried out by Starks, following which she returned to Kaiapoi.
  • 1969: Offered for sale.
  • July 1969: Sold to Wilkins & Davies Construction Co. Ltd., for use as a general work craft during wharf construction work at Bluff. She was transported south from Lyttelton by road transporter on 4 August 1969.
  • She was later used as a fishing vessel based at Bluff with the registration no. 8211. The name Kaiapoi was retained. In the early to mid 1990s, she was taken from the water needing gearbox and engine repairs. Placed in a cradle in a yard at Bluff, she still remains there today (April 2006).

    The Kaiapoi at Bluff in April 2006
    Photo: © D. Edge

    Back to Top