Yes, like you, I did a trip on the Kaitawa. I was on the Kaitoa in Auckland and we were expected to be in port for about a week. The Kaitawa was up at Portland and was due to change articles in Auckland. There was no Sparks on board, so I was despatched up to Portland to do the wages etc for the change. Was only on her 4 or 5 days and only made the few hours voyage to Auckland. My memory of my time on her is zero.
But yes, I really enjoyed my time with the Union Co. Generally speaking, good shipmates and except for my first ship, the old Kauri, which I also joined in Portland (what a trip out along that wharf) luckily got a ride on the cab of one of the wee shunters. But again, a good bunch to sail with, except a drunken 1st Mate.