A mint company card--must be c.80 years old.
Built: 1904 Alex. Stephen & Sons, Linthouse, Glasgow
Owners: Union SSCo of NZ
1904: Delivered as 'Port Kingston' to Elder Dempster for their
Imperial Direct West India Mail Service--Avonmouth-Bermuda-Kingston. Proved to be too large for the service.
1907: While at anchor in Kingston was driven ashore by an earthquake, which killed over 700 and injured 1,000. The ship grounded twice in the harbour: the first time when the sea receded; the second time when the surge carried her ashore. She was refloated by tug and Elder Dempster's 'Delta' and then used as a hospital ship.
1910: Laid up at Avonmouth when Imperial Direct lost the mail contract.
1911: Acquired by USSCo, r/n 'Tahiti', and after modifications was put on the 'All Red Route'.
1914: Chartered by NZ Govt as troopship for duration of WWI--at first named 'HMNZ Transport No 4'(1914), then 'HMNZ Transport No 15', then 'HMNZ Transport No 25'(1915).
1917: Feb 2: Chased by UC 17, but drove submarine off by return of gunfire.
1920: Returned to service--San Francisco route, from 1921.
1927: Nov 3: At Sydney she collided with and sank the wooden harbour ferry Greycliffe, with 42 dead. Tahiti was moving at 12 knots and the ferry captain took his craft in front of Tahiti, assuming that she was moving at the harbour speed limit of 8 knots. The Court of Enquiry found Greycliffe 3/5 to blame and Tahiti 2/5--she was speeding.
1930: Aug 15: Out from Wellington, 460 miles off Rarotonga, the starboard propellor shaft snapped, unseating the engine and tearing a mortal hole in the stern plating. The pumps stopped when the gaining water covered them and power was lost. The crew tried their hardest for 60 hours to stem the inflow, even bailing with 40 gallon oil drums. Tahiti remained afloat for 2 days, during which 103 passengers and baggage, plus 149 crew and their belongings were taken off.
Union's 'Tofua', Matson's 'Ventura' and Brynmor's 'Penybryn'
went to her aid. She finally sank on Aug 17.