Naming of Union Company Ships

flyer682
19th April 2005, 12:52
Up until the time the Union Company was sold by P&O to Tasman Union Ltd. (a company jointly owned by N.Z. Maritime Holdings and T.N.T. Shipping (NZ) Ltd.), all the Company's ships (with some exceptions) were given Maori names. After this the "Union" prefix began to appear, when the Company started to re-tonnage itself with the hitherto unheard of, chartering of ships.
As a rule of thumb (and again there were some exceptions), ships with a Maori name (e.g. UNION ROTORUA, UNION ROTOMA), were owned by the Company and those with a place name (e.g. UNION AUSTRALIA, UNION DUNEDIN) were chartered.
Changes in shipping methods and practices steadily eroded the fleet. In 1972 at the time of the handover, there were 47 ships and a staff of 3345. In 1982, this was down to 13 ships and 1619 staff. By 1988, there were 9 ships and 835 staff. By 1999, the Company owned only three ships and today the Company has gone.

meltech
19th September 2005, 23:22
Hi David, nice to see some information on U.S.S. I sailed on Konui and Katea, before moving to Howard Smith in Australia. A pity that a major shipping co. in N.Z. is now gone. Regards John M.

neil maclachlan
20th September 2005, 16:22
I well remember The Union Company of New Zealand, I spent almost six monthe in Wellington during the Wharfies strike, on The Australia Star and watched the inter island ferries come and go between Wellington and Littleton,they were nice ships, sailed on two of them as a passenger.
I had a friend with Blue Star wno got married and went to NZ and sailed as a enginner with the Union Company, his name was Alec Walker (Jock).Lost track with him over the years and hoped I may find him thru this page,he hailed from Bathgate,Midlothian Scotland---here's hoping?
Neil

lensoveta
14th December 2005, 11:48
Nice to see the Union Company mentioned as it was a big company both in New Zealand and also Australia. Having sailed on various union Co. ships in the 60's and 70's mainly on the Aussie coast and one voyage to Lyttleton in the early seventies. Just to name the ones I sailed on as follows.. Pateena, Kumalla, Kootara, Risdon , Seaway Queen and Seaway Prince, as you may be aware Wm.Holyman & Co. was part owned by the Union Company. Their ships mainly sailed out of Tasmanian ports to Melbourne and Adelaide and the vessels that I sailed on with that Co. were Tarrina, Wareatea,William Holyman and their last ship, Mary Holyman.Yet another peice of shipping history has passed us by. Hope this maybe of some interest to members.
Kind Regards, lensoveta (Kevin Harrison)

Chipity
13th November 2006, 08:02
The USS Co, Had a very interesting past, I sailed on the Matua & Tofua on the Island run, to Fiji, Tonga,Samoa & Niue. It was a marvelous trip with a monthly turn around,though the trips back to Lyttleton in the winter were cold.The USS Co I believe built the Grand Pacific in Suva and it was managed by ex-cheif stewards it was a grand hotel in it's day. Nostaigla yes.

KIWI
14th November 2006, 07:21
Union Co was of course owned by P&O but in turn it owned or had a large shareholding in most of the local coastal companies.I believe it also had large interests in New Zealand Forest Products,Newmans Bus Co. & several other NZ companies.In general they were largely left to run themselves. There was of course Australian shipping interests as well that diversified out from the core business.Octopus of the Pacific was an apt name. Kiwi

veterannz
17th November 2006, 06:23
Up until the time the Union Company was sold by P&O to Tasman Union Ltd. (a company jointly owned by N.Z. Maritime Holdings and T.N.T. Shipping (NZ) Ltd.), all the Company's ships (with some exceptions) were given Maori names. After this the "Union" prefix began to appear, when the Company started to re-tonnage itself with the hitherto unheard of, chartering of ships.
As a rule of thumb (and again there were some exceptions), ships with a Maori name (e.g. UNION ROTORUA, UNION ROTOMA), were owned by the Company and those with a place name (e.g. UNION AUSTRALIA, UNION DUNEDIN) were chartered.
Changes in shipping methods and practices steadily eroded the fleet. In 1972 at the time of the handover, there were 47 ships and a staff of 3345. In 1982, this was down to 13 ships and 1619 staff. By 1988, there were 9 ships and 835 staff. By 1999, the Company owned only three ships and today the Company has gone.
Not quite right. This only happened towards the end of the line for the union Co. For example I was an engineer on the Kaitoke. A maori name but not with Union as a prefix. also Wahine, Maheno and many of the other earlier ships

flyer682
18th November 2006, 01:15
I refer to when the Union Company was sold by P&O to Tasman Union in 1971/72. It was after this that the "Union" Prefix appeared and only on new ships, not those already in the fleet.

Chris Field
21st November 2006, 13:12
I have an advert from the NZ Herald of about 1956 stating that "The 65 ships of the USSCo of NZ ..."- each ship is shown in profile and named. Sorry I can't scan it for youse jokers as it's tucked away 12000 mls from Surrey- but will do as soon as I get back there.
In 1979 I returned to seafaring and joined "Dunedin" (ex "Union New Zealand") then "Waitaki"(ex Union Australia")- both run by Maritime Carriers of NZ.Wasn't there another one of those called "Union Tasman" - what happened to her?

flyer682
21st November 2006, 19:09
Chris,
The last of the trio was the UNION TRANS TASMAN which was sold at the termination of her charter to the Union Company. At that time she was renamed ARNON, but don't know what happened to her after that.
The other two spent a long time laid up in the Philippines - DUNEDIN went there first, around early 1983 and the WAITAKI about a year later. One of them was renamed GOPHER, and I think both of them are still sailing.

tugger
29th November 2006, 07:26
Hi everyoner.
I'm knew on site. spent from 1957 to 1964 on the NZ coast. mostly Union Co
Konui, karu, kaiapoi, waipori, kurow. karatane. kawerau.waimate, kaimai,konini
and the Calm.
Cheers tugger

Chillytoes
23rd December 2006, 07:15
I sailed in Union Co ships in Australia from 1968 to 1976. My ships were:- Poolta, Pateena, Koonya, Kumalla, Kootara, Seaway King, Seaway Queen, Seaway Prince and Seaway Princess as well as Abel Tasman when it was taken over from HC Sleigh. As you can see this list of names is a little at odds with flyer682's note about maori names.
Further to Chris Field's note on the fleet size, I have in front of me the Passenger List for Aorangi - Voyage 72N, sailing Sydney June 1, 1950. This booklet lists 7 passenger vessels (one building - Tofua), 59 cargo vessels (6 building - Kawaroa, Kurutai, Karoon, Kootara, Kawatiri & Kokiri), as well as Aorangi herself of Canadian Australasian Line and Taroona of Tasmanian Steamers. I don't know about the various NZ coastal lines, but even without them 68 ships is a pretty big fleet.
Chillytoes

maurie
26th December 2006, 19:20
In defense of flyer682's comments of Maori Names for ships i sailed on most of the ussco's ships and i reckon that the Maori names referred to are for those ships registered in NZ, The Aussie ships carry aboriginal names, Koona, Pateena and kootara etc whereas the kiwi ships are named such as Kawaroa,Kurutai,Katui,Kowhai etc. Tofua,and Matua refer to place or things of an Island nature as these ships plied to the Islands. However as we all agree 68 ships is and was mighty impressive for a country the size of NZ and as such will never see the likes of again.

Paul J Burke
27th December 2006, 10:20
I also sailed on a variety of Union Coy ships , starting with Kanna in 1964.I dont know the origin of the name Kanna, it certainly doesnt sound Maori.the other ships i sailed on had Maori names ,such as Kokiri,Kawaroa, Kawerau,Kaimiro,Koraki,Waimate, Waimea,and the crane ships,Karetu, Ngakuta and Ngahere.The other 2 traded to the Pacific Islands-hence their names, Taveuni and Navua, they were named after 2 towns on the main Island of Fiji. The other ship i was on was named Union Aotearoa, which was on charter to Union Coy, with the Managers being Maritime Carriers.yes, it was a shame to see the last U .S .S .Coy vessel Rotoiti "vanish over the horizon" recently,certainly the end of a great era.

flyer682
28th December 2006, 23:41
Yes, my comments were only directed at the New Zealand fleet. The Australian fleet were given Aboriginal names on the whole, later changed to the "Seaway" prefix on the introduction of those vessels.

duncan montgomery
29th December 2006, 10:15
the ships names starting with wai e.g waimea had tween decks in them in all hatches duncan

roythwa
29th July 2009, 12:12
any thing on the poolta ?

John Crossland
30th July 2009, 00:12
A google of "Poolta", comes up with :-

"Soil map, part Pegarah Settlement Area : part of parishes Pegarah and Poolta, King Island, Tasmania [cartographic material] / Field Operations, Division of Soils"

roythwa
2nd August 2009, 12:39
I sailed in Union Co ships in Australia from 1968 to 1976. My ships were:- Poolta, Pateena, Koonya, Kumalla, Kootara, Seaway King, Seaway Queen, Seaway Prince and Seaway Princess as well as Abel Tasman when it was taken over from HC Sleigh. As you can see this list of names is a little at odds with flyer682's note about maori names.
Further to Chris Field's note on the fleet size, I have in front of me the Passenger List for Aorangi - Voyage 72N, sailing Sydney June 1, 1950. This booklet lists 7 passenger vessels (one building - Tofua), 59 cargo vessels (6 building - Kawaroa, Kurutai, Karoon, Kootara, Kawatiri & Kokiri), as well as Aorangi herself of Canadian Australasian Line and Taroona of Tasmanian Steamers. I don't know about the various NZ coastal lines, but even without them 68 ships is a pretty big fleet.
Chillytoes

Hi I sailed as a relief r/o on the Poolta cannot find a picture of her. I dunno what is making me so hungry for the old times I sometimes feel that that I would like to be back at sea. Silly isn't it after all these years. I got started by googling my first trip in the 60's and ran across some fellows I had sailed with. Well I cannot describe the feelings but it certainly stirred me up. All the best

Roy Thwaites

DURANGO
2nd August 2009, 12:54
I sailed in Union Co ships in Australia from 1968 to 1976. My ships were:- Poolta, Pateena, Koonya, Kumalla, Kootara, Seaway King, Seaway Queen, Seaway Prince and Seaway Princess as well as Abel Tasman when it was taken over from HC Sleigh. As you can see this list of names is a little at odds with flyer682's note about maori names.
Further to Chris Field's note on the fleet size, I have in front of me the Passenger List for Aorangi - Voyage 72N, sailing Sydney June 1, 1950. This booklet lists 7 passenger vessels (one building - Tofua), 59 cargo vessels (6 building - Kawaroa, Kurutai, Karoon, Kootara, Kawatiri & Kokiri), as well as Aorangi herself of Canadian Australasian Line and Taroona of Tasmanian Steamers. I don't know about the various NZ coastal lines, but even without them 68 ships is a pretty big fleet.
Chillytoes When where you in the Kumalla i was a.b . her in 68 my cabin mate was an old Norweigian fella sadly i can no longer remember his name all the best

roythwa
13th August 2009, 15:48
thanks to all who told me about the Poolta she was a bit little after ANL Timbarra. They wanted me to stay and were a good crew even painted the radio room for me.

I cannot get onto the nz site as so many suggested - dont like my email addresses which is a bit strange.

I got lugged ashore off the Iron Kimberly by my missus being a young bloke then well uno.

Went fixing tellys and up to now graduated to computer service.

Miss the sea now after all those shore jobs.

I rang up Melbourne some years ago when awa were changing to satnav, got a nasty surprise "do you have any recent sea service" I thought it/s like riding a bike who forgets after twice around the world.

Regards Roy Thwaites

Mike Hogan
26th September 2009, 12:45
Have just joined and was delighted to see the old Union Steam Ship Co mentioned on this site. As I recall all their ships (with the exception of Matua, Tofua and Navua) had Maori names, originally. In the 1970's this started to change.
I sailed in a number of Union Co. jobs in the 60's;- Waipori, Kawaroa, Karamu, Katea, Koranui, Navua, Wairata, Kawatiri, Kaiapoi, Kaitoa, Maori and Rangatira.

edgwick
27th October 2009, 14:15
Hi all,

I served on the Australian fleet in the mid 70's, Seaway King, Seaway Queen, Poolta ( I have a photo of her at Port Huon, somewhere in the archive), Pateena and Risdon, (my favorite).

4 years ago I met some engineers in the Maldives who sailed on Risdon after she was sold to Maldives National Shipping Co. We had a great night talking about shipping in those days. (It was a dry night being a Muslim country, but great food).

I feel my shipping days were the highlight of an engineering career, great shipmates and a mix of hard work and hard partying in port.

Bob Kluck

Abbeywood.
13th November 2009, 05:45
In the early '60's I sailed on the delivery voyage of the 'Rippingham Grange' to the ship-breakers of Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan.
On that voyage, of some seven months, I struck up a partnership with the R.O by the name of Ray Garrard. He originally came from Grays, in Essex, but was operating out of the 'pool' in Hong Kong.
At the completion of the delivery, the crew all flew back to the Colony where we all went our separate ways. However Ray and I booked into the MN hotel on the waterfront on the Island, dining in the China Fleet Club and fraternis- ing with the natives of Wanchai, for a week when we then parted, he to another ship, and myself back to the UK and to Houlder Brothers re-employ.
We kept in contact for quite a few years thereafter, during which Ray took a berth iin several Union ships and also got himself 'spliced' to a Filipino girl, and moved back to Hong Kong.
There after the trail has gone cold, but I would welcome any information as to his present whereabouts, bearing in mind that he would be about 75 years of age now, if still in the land of the living.
I wonder if any former Union employees ever met Ray in their travels and could thus throw some liight on my enquiries.
Pete' Lambert, I.O.W, UK

Billyly
14th November 2009, 03:32
In the early '60's I sailed on the delivery voyage of the 'Rippingham Grange' to the ship-breakers of Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan.
On that voyage, of some seven months, I struck up a partnership with the R.O by the name of Ray Garrard. He originally came from Grays, in Essex, but was operating out of the 'pool' in Hong Kong.
At the completion of the delivery, the crew all flew back to the Colony where we all went our separate ways. However Ray and I booked into the MN hotel on the waterfront on the Island, dining in the China Fleet Club and fraternis- ing with the natives of Wanchai, for a week when we then parted, he to another ship, and myself back to the UK and to Houlder Brothers re-employ.
We kept in contact for quite a few years thereafter, during which Ray took a berth iin several Union ships and also got himself 'spliced' to a Filipino girl, and moved back to Hong Kong.
There after the trail has gone cold, but I would welcome any information as to his present whereabouts, bearing in mind that he would be about 75 years of age now, if still in the land of the living.
I wonder if any former Union employees ever met Ray in their travels and could thus throw some liight on my enquiries.
Pete' Lambert, I.O.W, UK

I sailed with Ray a couple of times in the late 70's and met him in NZ after that. There is a R Garrard listed in the NZ white pages in Auckland phone +64 9 5356460 may be worth a try!

Leon Sparks
4th September 2017, 05:36
Nice to see the Union Company mentioned as it was a big company both in New Zealand and also Australia. Having sailed on various union Co. ships in the 60's and 70's mainly on the Aussie coast and one voyage to Lyttleton in the early seventies. Just to name the ones I sailed on as follows.. Pateena, Kumalla, Kootara, Risdon , Seaway Queen and Seaway Prince, as you may be aware Wm.Holyman & Co. was part owned by the Union Company. Their ships mainly sailed out of Tasmanian ports to Melbourne and Adelaide and the vessels that I sailed on with that Co. were Tarrina, Wareatea,William Holyman and their last ship, Mary Holyman.Yet another peice of shipping history has passed us by. Hope this maybe of some interest to members.
Kind Regards, lensoveta (Kevin Harrison)

Lindsay Sparks also sailed on the Mary Holyman. By chance did you sail with Lindsay

Tony Magon
20th April 2018, 04:45
Up until the time the Union Company was sold by P&O to Tasman Union Ltd. (a company jointly owned by N.Z. Maritime Holdings and T.N.T. Shipping (NZ) Ltd.), all the Company's ships (with some exceptions) were given Maori names. After this the "Union" prefix began to appear, when the Company started to re-tonnage itself with the hitherto unheard of, chartering of ships.
As a rule of thumb (and again there were some exceptions), ships with a Maori name (e.g. UNION ROTORUA, UNION ROTOMA), were owned by the Company and those with a place name (e.g. UNION AUSTRALIA, UNION DUNEDIN) were chartered.
Changes in shipping methods and practices steadily eroded the fleet. In 1972 at the time of the handover, there were 47 ships and a staff of 3345. In 1982, this was down to 13 ships and 1619 staff. By 1988, there were 9 ships and 835 staff. By 1999, the Company owned only three ships and today the Company has gone.

Union Sydney - I think was another one which was chartered - Registered in Hamilton, Bermuda - Radio callsign - ZBME

Les77
6th July 2018, 03:41
Hi
I sailed with Union Company ships on NZ coast and between NZ and Aussie during the 70s MV Kowhai. MV Kaitoa. MV Karetu. MV Wanaka. Then moved on to Crusader line.
I was an electrian

seaman38
6th July 2018, 07:34
Hi
I sailed with Union Company ships on NZ coast and between NZ and Aussie during the 70s MV Kowhai. MV Kaitoa. MV Karetu. MV Wanaka. Then moved on to Crusader line.
I was an electrian

I always remember them as business looking like ships in the 50's during my spell in the antipodes, never did get to board one, the Nurses Homes held more attractions!

Poor 'Wanaka' an unfortunate name if you missed out the second 'a' whilst transmitting on the lamp

Les77
6th July 2018, 23:06
Hi
Wanaka is correct spelling,it is the same as a tourist place in the South Island.
The Wanaka was a roll on roll off ship.

spongebob
6th July 2018, 23:55
Hi
I sailed with Union Company ships on NZ coast and between NZ and Aussie during the 70s MV Kowhai. MV Kaitoa. MV Karetu. MV Wanaka. Then moved on to Crusader line.
I was an electrian

Hi Les, I sailed on Kaitoa in 1960 when we lost the old Auckland vehicular ferry while attempting to tow it to Hobart.

Bob

Les77
7th July 2018, 03:18
Hi Bob
We took coal from Westport to whangari then to Aussie to pick up gypsum and back to Westport.Kaitoa took over that run when the previous ship blew up and sunk from the coal dust on the west coast of the North Island.all hands lost

seaman38
7th July 2018, 06:39
Hi
Wanaka is correct spelling,it is the same as a tourist place in the South Island.
The Wanaka was a roll on roll off ship.

Oh! Dear! woe is me!

Jim sargent
13th July 2018, 02:52
Everybody seems to remember the "K" and "W" ships but there is no mention of the Monowai. I did most of my deckboy's time in her back in1954. Sailed in Karamu, Kaitangata, Kaponga, Navua, Konui, Kauri and Koraki when she was delivered in April '58.
Spent some time in Parera (Richardson's) and Hotonui and Ratanui (Northern Steam).
First ship was Kapuni (Frankham's) which I joined by mistake. The Union official at the Shipping Office called for a deckboy for the Kapuni. Hearing the name starting with a "K" I made sure that I was first through the door as I thought it was a U.S.S,Co ship. The two other D.B's on the Corner had gone invisible and I found out why when I walked the length of King's Wharf three times looking a black hull with the appropriate name.

stillwaters
14th September 2018, 03:52
Hi everyoner.
I'm knew on site. spent from 1957 to 1964 on the NZ coast. mostly Union Co
Konui, karu, kaiapoi, waipori, kurow. karatane. kawerau.waimate, kaimai,konini
and the Calm.
Cheers tugger
Hi Tugger,
I was at sea at about the same time 1957-1962, on a lot of the ships you mentioned. My first was the 'MV Piri .shipped mainly out of Dunedin.

sam2182sw
25th April 2019, 20:44
Hi lads and all in new zealand can you help me find two ships 1 tasman enterprize 2 tasman venture. I am looking for photos of them. My brother in law worked has a super cargo for this company he has just passed over the bar his name was captain peter tate he lived in n.z. I am putting a book together for his wife on all the ships he sailed on can you lads help me compleate it with thses two ships sam2182sw from hull england