28th February 2005, 09:26
Built 1966 by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd., Dundee.
4,548grt. 367' 1" x 53' 6" x 23' 6".
Sold 1986 and renamed KENT BRILLIANT. Lost rudder north of Phillipines April 1993 and subsequently broken up at Huangpu later that year.
The two photos show her at Timaru in 1976.

1st May 2005, 11:43
Ah the Nga boats, the ships that Union Company sent you to when you were a bad boy. The lowest paid ones and sometimes the hardest working ones . Crewed often with rehabs from the Sallies Island . I sailed on the Ngahere and when the ship rolled which they easily did the bridge deck used to lift slightly and water leak into my cabin through the crack. I remeber the skipper telling the company that when loaded with **** for Oz, in certain cross sea conditions they had a terrible habit of starting to hetrodyne ( get into a death roll) if not corrected early on. Scary stuff I can tell you. But the dry a---s in Wellington would not believe him. These boats often worked the Islands off NZ. eg Nuie, Tonga etc etc.
Billyg. (Wave)

david smith
1st May 2005, 17:41
The Florentino (ex Ngatoro)at Rendsburg november 1979.
Why did Union Steam have those "cabs" on the bridgewings? Frightened of a bit of weather?

Bill R
10th July 2005, 09:53
Thanks for your messages on the Nga's.
I must have been one of the bad boys as I spent several years on them as Master. I even ended up signing any Company mail as Commodore Nga's much to the annoyance of Head Office.
They were originally built in Dundee (Caledon) for the paper trade out of Mt.Maunganui before Tasman came in with their own ships.
Thinking back I think my favourite was "Ngapara"

Cheers Bill Ross

13th September 2005, 22:16
I sailed on all all Nga boats as an AB late 60s. Have to agree with BillyG, They were really bad regarding rolling. When on the bridgewings during lookout watch and ship put on 1 mean roll, well, rather freaky. But at least were a pleasure to work eg cranes instead of masts and derricks.
cheers MaurieE

7th October 2005, 06:09
The Florentino (ex Ngatoro)at Rendsburg november 1979.
Why did Union Steam have those "cabs" on the bridgewings? Frightened of a bit of weather?
if you had done a trip or seven across the Tasman ex Bluff or similar you would understand......great spot in those nga boat rolls though !

neil maclachlan
8th October 2005, 01:07
Hi Shipmates,
You folks obviously sailed with Union Steamship Company of New Zealand so I'd like to put a question to you? I'm trying to locate an old friend of mine from my Blue Star day's,his name is Jock Walker (Alec) I was Jocks best man when he married a girl from Prestwick,Scotland in 1954. I lost touch with him ,the last time I met him was in 1964-5 when he was home in Scotland on holiday. I know theres a lot of water under the bridge since then, but it would be wonderfull if I could make contact with Jock once more. I think he may have lived in Auckland, he may have been a second engineer or even maybe even a chiel. I hope with a bit of luck some of you guys may have sailed with---I used to call him Cobby Walker, he was from Bathgate,Midlothian.
Heres Hoping,
Neil Mac

8th October 2005, 08:24
Ah Yes The Nga's Knew Them Well. I sailed in the the Ngatoro, Ngahere, and Ngakuta as AB and Leading Hand. As stated they would roll on a wet lawn given half the chance. My favourite would have to have been the Ngatoro. She was the only one fitted with an Iron Mike (Automatic Steering) made life a little easier when on watch. Nothing unusual in these vessels to sleep on the deck due to being uncermoniously tossed out of your bunk due to the rolling. Apart from their sea keeping capabilities great ships to work as stated. Hydraulic hatch lids and 6 cranes easy clew ups. I also sailed on the Karetu another crane vessel. These had only 4 cranes. Very nice ships. They also were a little prone to rocking and rolling but nothing in comparrison to the Nga Class. On the Nga's the brow was used to paint the vessel. You used to piggy back it from crane to crane for painting over the side and great for painting the fore part of the accomadation. Do one side and then slew the crane around to paint the other side. Have some fond memories of these vessels.

9th October 2005, 23:20
Hello Gary
I sailed as AB on Ngahere and Karetu. They were the "cream" jobs for sure. Karetu my pick. Actually went into Westport on her for load of coal.Was on Ngahere for best part of 12 months...had my 21st B/day on her in melbourne......stellar cast and quite a party. Peter Rogers was bosun

10th October 2005, 04:22

I must agree the Karetu was also a favourite of mine. Yes it was a bit below the belt when they sent her in for a load of coal. I was on the Trans Tas run all the time. A question did they still have engine casing chain linked up. Why I ask one trip this split open and the motormen where getting hot showers whilst down below. The Bosun at the time was Noddy Osborne and the Master was little Tich Brayshay. I was on her for about 9months and she laid up.

10th October 2005, 12:00
I sailed with the Tich man a couple of times..the angry ant. and a nasty bit of work if crossed. Still...on reflection they had a lot to contend with.Some of the ratbags that were around.he gave me a DR off the Kaitoa. {I didn't do it )

10th October 2005, 12:11
Re the Engine room...can"t answer that one. Many ships I was on never saw inside of ER...never the twain shall meet and all that. I would like to track down any photos of interior of USS co ships eg cabins or Messrooms etc. Any photos taken on deck or similar.
I worked with Holm and Co..Richardsons ..Northern..Tankers..Moana Roa..John Wilson and a Cavalcade of slow greens...mainly Intercolonial but also Wairata to far East and islands on Tarawera and others. Also much time Oz coast.

21st October 2005, 00:12
Please resend your email K

30th October 2005, 07:44
I did a trip as Supernumary on "Ngatoro" in 1973 from Mount Maunganui to Hobart and Geelong. Wood pulp on the way over and CKDs (cars knocked down for the uninitiated) on the return. We were stuck at the Mount for a week due to an industrial dispute concerning a motorman and up for every tide. Very frustrating and tensions ran fairly high but also a very social time - we spent a lot of time on the Big Blue Star berthed astern. Also entertained the local constabulary on a regular basis. When we finally sailed it took us 6 days to Hobart - no wonder they called them the slow greens! Andy Keyworth commonly known in the fleet as "God" was master. While berthed in Hobart the crew had a party with the radio tuned to the local radio station. Georgie West the sparky phoned in a request from the Officers of the Ngatoro to play for the crew of the Ngatoro the song "You cant touch me Im part of the Union" The roar that went up from the crowd below when that came across the radio nearly raised the deck a couple of inches! Those were the days. After we discharged the wood pulp we moved up under the bridge for fuel and then left empty for Geelong. Going through Bass Strait empty was no joke - one moment your head is rammed through the bunkboard and the next your feet are being rammed into your stomach plus of course the cavitation as the screw comes near the surface. Incidentally I recall the forward engineroom bulkhead having a huge patch on it where steel had penetrated the bulkhead. That must have been exciting!

19th December 2005, 22:06
As a new chum I heve enjoyed reading through all this correspondence and comments .
I sailed as apprentice & 2nd mate in "NGAHERE & NGAKUTA". But the smaller ones I liked better 'KARETU & KAREPO, sailed in both 'Karetu', on coal run and 'Karepo', for five months as Third Mate . Longest voyage Tauranga - Fremantle , then Kwinana , Busselton for 5 days ( what a wharf to work down half cut ) then Adelaide to top up with Gnl for Wellington ,Lyttelton , Bluff , Tauranga. Round trip 61 days. Great crew
Ray Warriner - Master , Frank Walsh - C/E. Geo. Osborne (Noddy) Bosun. Chad Kearney (Passionate Plumber) , Dave Williams and the rest good South Island stock

Lindsay Butterfield. (Butters)

J Boyde
20th December 2005, 08:55
I sailed on three, Ngatoro, Ngahere, Ngakuta and the Karetu. The Nga were quite good, in the engineroom. Then start the climb up to the accomodation, you soon got the nack but occasionaly you would get caught, all part of life. The Karetu was a nice ship and generaly rode well. Did have one trip where I was awoken sitting up with my back to the bulkhead and hear water flowing over above my cabin. The mate and the man on the wheel, both hit the deck thinking that the windows were going in. They didnt but we did spend a few not planed hours in Wellington while some work was done on the winches housings. The Araluen did the biggest roll I had in my years at sea.
Jim Boyde

21st December 2005, 04:42
aahhhhh, dont ya love those memories of days gone by

6th March 2006, 11:24
i rolled on the ngapara from hobart to freemantle back to dunedun, they had trouble building them the plans kept rolling of the draughtsmans board.

7th March 2006, 02:43
HI Neil, Think the Alec Walker that you are trying to trace was the bloke that I relieved on the Cilicia in 1955. I next met him in Whangarei when he was a Marine Dept Surveyor . I'll check with a mate of mine but I think he has passed on.

Peter Kiddell.

10th March 2006, 03:18
Hi Neil, checked with my mate,and Alec Walker passed away about 6 years ago. Pretty sure he would be the one you were looking for.

Peter Kiddell

29th June 2006, 08:57
Another ex Nga man. I was mate on three of them inthe 70's. We had some great times. Only problem I had to play master as they were always up the road.

16th September 2006, 10:40
Sailed on all four(must have been on the outer?)remember you well Bill,had a few good times together,also you Butters, lots a naughty boys in the Co.They were good Jobs on a good day!!!.Not with lead from Whyala.Doug P.

Dave Edge
17th September 2006, 03:17
"Ngapara" was not broken up as thought as the latest issue of 'Marine News'has a photo of her taken at Shanghai on 29 July this year. She is now named "Zheng He 9" and has had her cranes removed but doesn't look too bad for a 41 year old.

17th September 2006, 07:10
"Ngapara" was not broken up as thought as the latest issue of 'Marine News'has a photo of her taken at Shanghai on 29 July this year. She is now named "Zheng He 9" and has had her cranes removed but doesn't look too bad for a 41 year old.

Dave, Do you mean New Zealand Marine News or the WSS one?

Dave Edge
17th September 2006, 10:26
The photo is in the WSS Marine News for September.

21st September 2006, 10:08
read this in nz ships and marine society about Ngapara
From news in September 2006 World Ship Society "Marine News"

Ngapara was one of the N-class cargo ships built for the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co.Ltd, Dundee. Built in 1966, she was of 4,575 gross tonnage, and her sister ships were Ngakuta, Ngatoro and Ngahere. Ngapara was sold in 1986 and renamed Kent Brilliant, under the Panamanian flag. Following loss of her rudder north of the Philippines, she was towed to Keelung, where she arrived on 14th April 1993. She was sold and renamed Financier, under the Panamanian flag later in 1993. No repairs were effected and she arrived under tow at Huangpu on 18th May 1993 and thought to have been demolished.

On 29th July 2006 she was noted and photographed by Ian Edwards lying at Shanghai as Zheng He No. 9, fully repaired and in fine condition, with light-grey hull and green boot-topping. However, all of her deck cranes have been removed, leaving only the deckhouses that they were once mounted on.

C. nzship and marine society.



1st December 2006, 02:28
Was in the Karetu when she first went on the coal run just come off survey.Davey croft Terry snowden cliff keo i think Lofty towers was bosun Willy macdermit in the messroom. The skipper was kaye wont go into detail.But good little job.

17th February 2007, 21:18
I was on the Ngahere with Capt Keyworth when we rescued the crew off a yacht about 4hrs out of Sydney. Keyworth was pretty unimpressed with them as he considered that they had abandoned a seaworthy vessel. Some of the crew wanted to salvage the yacht - we couldn't top the cranes at sea and Keyworth wouldn't allow anyone to sail her back to Sydney (or Kembla..?).
Great hoo ha on the radio on arrival Auckland.

20th February 2007, 08:17
Zheng He 9 was renamed Star 1 about November 2006 and has since been broken up at the beginning of 2007.

John Clarke
9th September 2007, 08:43
How could that ship still be afloat in 2007? I thought I had chipped all the steel off her with a chipping hammer in 1982.

A fun time though. Many good memories of the grain run out of Timaru. Bruce Seaman was the old man.

I think the wing cabs on Union Co ships may have had something to do with the NZ practice where the AB lookout wasn't allowed inside the wheelhouse regardless of the weather (looking back: how f***ing ridiculous was that?). I think on British hips around that time they were allowed inside if it rained - or have i been misinformed?

12th December 2008, 05:27
I have just been trawling thro the tread about the Union Co "Nga" ships,
They are relatively unknown to me as they were built after I left the Company in 1960, however my then father-in-law, Bernie (Bluey) Avery, skippered some of this class when they were on the steel run to Port Kembla and Newcastle. Also when on the newsprint run from Tauranga to Aussie.
I recall a few comments from him about the ships, in particular when the boats in the Auckland to Suva yacht race got into serious trouble just north of North Cape and his ship was involved in the rescue plans.
Jazz606's post about Andy Keyworth picking up a yacht's crew off the Australian coast reminds me of an incident in the early 60's? when Bluey was leaving Wellington Harbour on a dark inclement night and ran down an unlit 30 odd foot yacht. The first the ship knew about it was when the yacht bumped ans scraped down the ships side and all three startled crewmen clambered over the rail un harmed.
The incident made the paper headlines but I was never sure of the final outcome. He was reluctant to talk about it!

Was anybody there?

Regards Bob

10th January 2013, 08:16
Sailed on both the Karetu and the Ngapara in the early 70's. Some crew on the Karetu, Lindsay Brothers, Paul Jefferies, Dick Box, Neville Wasney, ..great times..

17th June 2013, 03:46
Thanks for your messages on the Nga's.
I must have been one of the bad boys as I spent several years on them as Master. I even ended up signing any Company mail as Commodore Nga's much to the annoyance of Head Office.
They were originally built in Dundee (Caledon) for the paper trade out of Mt.Maunganui before Tasman came in with their own ships.
Thinking back I think my favourite was "Ngapara"

Cheers Bill Ross

Seem to remember you were in the Marama with the "Scotch Mafia" Alex Sommerville, Gollogly, Alec McDonald ?? Bobmac

Sharkie Price
23rd February 2014, 16:31
I think I joined her on her " First " voyage on the NZ coast as an A/B that was Sept 1962, we stuck her up in Sydney, because the old man wouldn't pay us for some reason, when we got back to NZ I paid off and I got a D/R for conduct, I cant remember what for now, can anybody out there who was in it with me remember. My watch mate was stan Thornton. I paid off her in Auckland on 19/12/1962. please
contact me via ships nostalgia or

Kev Price @ Sharkie Price