Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
Disasters in Poverty Bay and Along the East Coast
Disasters in Poverty Bay and Along the East Coast
Most of the marine casualties which occurred between Hicks Bay and Mahia took place in the days of sail, when a great deal of shipping used the East Coast route.
Several vessels which were wrecked on Mahia in the very early days were plundered. When the brig Byron went ashore at Table Cape in page 376 1833 (Polack's date) the natives stripped her and set her on fire. A chief, said to have been named Werowero (probably Te Wera), intervened to save the crew. Three years later, the brigantine New Zealander drifted on to Table Cape. The natives took charge of the wreck and robbed the crew even of their clothes. The U.S. brig Falco, which was driven ashore off Whangawehi, on 26 July, 1845, was plundered by Maoris and pakeha whalers. In February, 1847, the schooner Hotourangi, which was wrecked at Waikokopu, was stripped by Europeans. The schooners Falcon and Post Boy, wrecked on Mahia in March, 1850, were despoiled by a gang of convicts and deserters from ships. Among the large number of wrecks in the vicinity of Mahia in later years, the most serious were: s.s. Tasmania (2,252 tons), off Table Cape, with the loss of 11 lives (29 July, 1897); and s.s. Tongariro (8,073 tons), on Bull Rock, without loss of life (30 August, 1916).
Only vague references to shipping casualties within Poverty Bay prior to 1850 have been traced. The Rev. J. Stack says that two or three schooners were wrecked during his stay in 1842, but he omits the names. Vessels which came to grief in, or after, 1850 were: sch. Queen (Kuini), stranded on bar of Waipaoa River (August, 1850); barque Eudora, beached at Muriwai (July, 1851); brig Sisters, driven on to Kaiti Beach at spot where the Star of Canada stranded in 1912 (16 April, 1852); cutter Ben Lomond, stranded near the same spot shortly afterwards; sch. Gem, wrecked on bar of Turanganui River (August, 1865); sch. Agnes, stranded on bar of Turanganui River, and carried over the rocks on to the western side (23 June, 1867); s.s. Pretty Jane, temporarily stranded at mouth of Waipaoa River (5 February, 1875) and at entrance to Turanganui River (17 October, 1876); s.s. Go Ahead, temporarily stranded at entrance to Turanganui River (2 May, 1877).
Mishaps in Poverty Bay in the 1880's and 1890's included: Barque Lochnagar, which failed to beat out of the bay, was squared away and run on to Waikanae Beach on 26 October, 1880, and was refloated; cutter Wahapu, which was swept out of the Waipaoa River and foundered (27 October, 1880); brigantine Isabella, wrecked off the mouth of the Waipaoa River (8 June, 1882); brig Rio Grande, driven on Waikanae Beach (30 April, 1884); ketch Comet, stranded on bar of Turanganui River in May, 1885, but was got off; cutter Antelope, temporarily stranded on Kaiti Beach (January, 1886); cutter Anna Eliza, blown on to Kaiti rocks on 1 March, 1886, but refloated; s.s. Taupo, stranded on Tuamotu Reef on 28 April, 1886, but was got off; brigantine Aratapu, temporarily ashore on Waikanae Beach (25 July, 1886); sch. Onward, wrecked at mouth of Turanganui River (17 May, 1887); cutter Sir Donald, broke up off Tuahine Point (20 May, 1887); brigantine Clansman, stranded on Waikanae Beach (4 April, 1889); sch. Awaroa, wrecked on Tuamotu Reef (17 June, 1892); ketch Reliance, stranded on Muriwai Beach (29 March, 1893); s.s. Moa, temporarily stranded at mouth of Turanganui River (2 April, 1894); and sch. Spray, went to pieces on Waikanae Beach (23 May, 1895).
The scow Ururoa stranded on Waikanae Beach on 11 August, 1901, but was got off; barque Gladys, laden with wool, went ashore on Kaiti Beach on 31 July, 1903, but was refloated; s.s. Star of Canada (7,280 tons), wrecked on Kaiti Beach (23 June, 1912); s.s. Arahura and s.s. Waimate collided in Poverty Bay (1 March, 1917); ketch Huanui, stranded on Waikanae Beach (11 May, 1921) but was refloated; s.s. Koutunui, slightly damaged on reef off Kaiti (9 July, 1946).
Along the East Coast between Poverty Bay and Hicks Bay there was a much larger number of mishaps: Brig Martha, holed on a rock 15 miles east of Gable End Foreland, but did not sink (1835); hull of schooner Speculator came ashore between Anaura Bay and Mawhai Point (early in 1842); sch. Gannet, went to pieces on Anaura Beach (31 August, 1843); sch. Mary Ann, stranded on bar of Uawa River, but was refloated and went on to Auckland (June, 1846); Lady Fitzroy Two Brothers and Flying Fish, lost “on East Coast” (July, 1847); sch. Pilot (Kingi Paerata), foundered off Whareponga (22 May, 1852); sch. Children, stranded at Whareponga (October, 1854); sch. Kate Williams, lost after leaving Hicks Bay (May, 1865); s.s. Star of the Evening (carrying 1,300 sheep), struck in the vicinity of Pouawa (13 February, 1867); cutter Mercury, broke up at East Cape (19 February, 1867); cutter Lady Wynyard, driven on rocks at Te Araroa (4 October, 1867); cutter Margaret, capsized off Motu Eke Island (Tolaga Bay) on 7 January, 1873; cutter Whau, which had struck off Portland Island, drifted up the coast and foundered off Waipiro Bay (22 August, 1875); brigantine Helen, sank off Horoera (11 April, 1876); sch. Acadia, under two jury masts and with blankets for sails, picked up by the Pretty Jane off East Cape (23 August, 1876).
The ketch Jessie drifted ashore bottom up near East Cape (9 June, 1882); sch. Saucy Kate was ashore at Hicks Bay (3 July, 1883), but refloated; cutter Mercury, stranded near Waiapu River mouth (February, 1887); sch. Columbia, last seen off East Cape (July, 1887), was believed to have been lost on the Ariel Reef; ketch Three Brothers, broke up near Turihaua (30 August, 1888); sch. Louie, believed to have been lost on the Ariel Reef (14 May, 1892); sch. Marmion foundered near East Cape (3 March, 1899); chief officer and three seamen of g.s. Hinemoa drowned page 377 whilst landing stores on East Island (2 June, 1899); s.s. Mawhera, temporarily stranded between East Island and mainland (September, 1899); brigantine Linda Weber, lost after passing East Cape (March, 1901); scow Whakapai, capsized between East Island and mainland (29 September, 1901). [Her mate was saved by some natives, including Henare Kohere, who was awarded the Royal Humane Society's bronze medal. Kohere was killed in action on the Somme on 16 September, 1916.]
The sch. Haeremai was lost after passing East Cape (19 May, 1906); the aux. sch. Aotea, capsized off Waipiro Bay (17 July, 1906) and all aboard, including Captain J. Nicolas, his wife and two of their nine children, perished; brigantine Sir Henry, foundered off East Cape (17 July, 1906); sch. Kaeo was refloated off the beach at Tokomaru Bay (10 July, 1909); sch. Orete, on beach at Tokomaru Bay, but was got off (April, 1910); sch. Waiapu, lost both masts off Hicks Bay (4 May, 1910), and was towed to Auckland; s.s. Squall, struck a rock off Horoera and sank (1 February, 1916); s.s. Port Elliot (7,395 tons), wrecked off Horoera (12 January, 1924); s.s. Northumberland, struck a rock off Gable End Foreland (25 January, 1927) and came on to Gisborne; trawler Serfib, abandoned, in a sinking condition, off Waipiro Bay (6 August, 1933).