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Old 27th November 2017, 19:29
peterlball peterlball is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 77
Hi - I was 3/0 for a voyage from Auckland to South Australian Gulfs on KAITUNA. Think the master was Capt Billingham (??) who gave me a bad time so I then resigned to go on and on elsewhere. I had previously been on TOFUA for a couple of round voyages to the islands and would have liked to stay there forever! From Peter Ballantyne
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Old 2nd December 2017, 10:04
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Butters Butters is offline  
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 329
Originally Posted by the lecky View Post
Hi Fergi, the hatches leaked we took that list and lost the port engine first ,no lub.oil as i remember ,then got a blockage (a rag ) in the lub oil return pipe starb engine ,crank case filled up and oil coming out the fly wheel ,lost that engine, john took the inspection plate off, oil came out he went in to try and clear pipe ,chief forgot to put the shaft brake on, prop came out of water,if it had turned the other way it would have killed him.We carried him and put him in his bunk.made new plymouth .engineers from scotland checked the engines and said it was impossible to run engines on the lub oil pressure we were running them on.they were out here to give evidence about the kaitawa.
That I would assume was 'KAIAPOI'. I was at a Union Company annual reunion last Tuesday the 28th. November and actually talked with the Master at that time Capt. Ray Stewart about that voyage , he is now 91 and living on Great Barrier Island with family . A Master I sailed with Many times in the late 1960's and 70's. who I still keep in touch with.
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Old 4th December 2017, 01:26
tugger tugger is offline  
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 163
Thumbs up

Hi All.
My best times were on the NZ coast, after leaving the Home boats i emigrated to NZ in 57
Was on the Kurow 57, Karatani 58, Waipori 58, Waimate 58, Kaimai 58, Konui 58, Kaiapoi 61, Konini 62, Kawerau 62, Karu 64. all multable trips
Did many a trip down to Westport and Greymouth to Whangarie, well remember the long wharf there. best was the Kaimai running the East coast Auckland to Bluff and back, plenty of oysters.
We moved to Aus in 74 went back to live in Whangarie for five years in 2000, then came back to Aus.
While living in Onerahi used to see the cement boat Golden Bay coming into the Portland berth doing the sharp turn around Limestone Island.
Cheers Des
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Old 4th December 2017, 03:10
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spongebob spongebob is offline
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Engineering
Active: 1957 - 1961
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 8,899
Hello there Des, you must have been crossing the same waters at the same time as me . My ships were Kaitangata, Navua, Kaitoa and the reefer Tarawera.
A couple of mates were on the Kaimai on the East coast grocery run, third mate Scot Trevor Joseph and electrician Mike Jackson.
Spent some of my youth near Whangarei living at Maungatapere and going to Whangarei Boys High school.

Regards Bob
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Old 4th December 2017, 04:54
tugger tugger is offline  
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 163
Hi Spongebob.
I remember a trip on the Kaiapoi coming back from Westport hit a good storm, as i was Bosun my cabin was facing the foredeck, massive waves hitting the bulkhead and a split appearing in the bulkhead, water coming in but lucky it was not to fast, wedged a towel and some wood with a length of timber to the after cabin bulkhead.
As someone has said on here the lids on the hatches were always leaking and the wedges had to be hammered home on the way back to Auckland or Whangarie. Good old days.
Cheers Des
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Old 28th April 2018, 06:30
retired R/O retired R/O is offline  
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 5

I just finished reading some ideas about how and why the Kaitawa went down.
Regarding the communication by the R/O to the coast station. The writer
indicated the operator had a Canadian accent. Yes that is correct. The
question was why he used radio telephone instead of c/w. Perhaps I can
clear this up or offer another reason.
I joined a cargo ship in Japan in 1973.
We went through a typhoon south of Hong Kong on our way to Singapore.
It hit us after dark, and the captain wanted some up to the minute weather.
I tried getting a signal on both the antennas but no luck.
It was very dark, (night time), very rough (mountainous seas) etc.etc..
I was able to get a weather report on AM, but it was 4 hours old, not good
enough, but all there was to be had.
The next day the first mate came to me and said, don't take any flack, your
antennas were all down, along with some other equipment that had been
washed overboard.
I offer this as a counter to any armchair mariners. I listened to comments
ashore after the Kaitawa went down, and was hurt by the so called experts.
Since there are still evaluations surfacing, I am prompted to get my two
bits worth in.
Phillip Mowatt was a good friend of mine. Any comments, additions, corrections send to
[email protected]

Pierre LeRoss

ps I have had the good luck to pass Cape Rienga twice in the middle of the
night since then, and have had a quiet, double, single malt scotch in memory
of those men caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Old 4th May 2018, 03:32
tugger tugger is offline  
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 163
Hi Pierre.
Thanks for that post. It's a long time ago and I had only just gone ashore; my last ship the Karu which I doubt would have survived that storm. I did many trips to the West coast and they remain in my memory as the most frightening in all my time at sea.
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Old 18th May 2018, 23:45
retired R/O retired R/O is offline  
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 5

Further to the USSCo and the Kaitawa fallout

I returned to Vancouver March 1967 from my job as R/O with the UssCo of NZ to be told that the Company did not notify the parents
of P. Mowatt for four months after the disaster.
All the speculation and court proceedings and arm chair experts
at the time, and still it seems, prompt me to add this post script.
Give a thought to those who go to sea to serve all those on land.
They are away from their families, seven days a week, 24 hours
a day till they return. I still have a love for the sea. Thank you
for the space to add my bit.
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Old 27th May 2018, 07:02
gordonarfur gordonarfur is offline
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 47
I joined the Kaitawa in September 1963 as the RO having previously sailed with NZS. Johnny Warren was still the captain, the third engineer was a Canadian and the Lecky came from Greymouth. I remember visiting his house for his sisters 21st - a great time had by all. Unfortunately I transferred to the Kawatiri where the Captain (Lochead) tried to give me a lesson in RDF. After that open warfare was declared between the two of us and I was then sentenced to several weeks on the Karitane UNBELIEVABLE. I subsequently did a pier head jump onto the Koromiko Doug Croucher (skipper) and a bloody good bloke. Thoroughly enjoyed that trip but regretted leaving NZS. Still do.
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Old 30th September 2018, 04:17
shinz shinz is offline
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 17
I've appreciated reading this thread rather than enjoyed, Kaitawa went down when I was a kid (11) & the story must have affected me somewhat as I had nightmares about her afterwards for some years, too vivid an imagination perhaps, so she has long stayed in my conscious. I've had this site bookmarked for some time, it shows a Memorial to the Kaitawa at the entrance to the Port of Estport from where she sailed on her last voyage, it includes a full crew list. Sorry if this has been put up before, I didn't see it.
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