Naming of Union Company Ships
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.