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MV Matau at Nukualofa, Tonga in 1946. The Matua with the Tofua sailed the following route until the late 1960's or early 1970's: Auckland to Suva, Nukulofa,Vavau, Niue, Apia, Suva, Auckland. Photo from the book a "Shoestring Line" Published by Reeds 1967.
 

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This pic from very early days showing her in white livery. When white had a Green hull band and Blue boot topping. Changed to standard USS Co colours in 1949 after losing the battle with rust.During WW11 was painted grey.Finished up in 1968 after 32 years service Known as one of the "Cream Jobs" and manned by "Royals". Her last voyage was apparently a very special and moving affair as she was part of Island life and culture.
Built 1936 by R&W Hawthorn Leslie & Co Ltd Hebborn on Tyne and was in fleet 1936-1968. 4.166 tons Gross.
Length 355.2 feet. Beam 50.5 feet. Draught 26.7 feet.
Sold 1968 to K.Shipping Corp. Manila. Stranded Manila bay 1969. Salvaged by Taiwan ship Breakers and broken up Kaohsiung 1970.
Vale a most beautiful ship. KPC
 

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she used to sit out on the dolfins and unload with barges.But when we arrived at the new wharfe with Mr McFarlane to cut the tape etc,I think the most memorable site was one old Samoan man who just stood on the wharfe and touched the ship side saying "Matua" with tears in his eyes,she was a grand old lady.Doug P.
 

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The inter-island deck passengers were a fond memory also, if it started to get rough it was necessary to shift the foredeck passengers aft, and then nobody got any sleep. She was a grand ship. I have a photo of her that I took from a calender, I will send it on when I learn how.
 

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matua crew

hi guys,i am posting on behalf of my dad and have seen a lot of pics taken of the union ships.i may be able to upload them at a later date.they were taken in various ports around the world.
dad kept all the dinner menus as well. :)
 

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Hi everybody, my father Vic Zaremba was a sparky on the Matua in the 60's. He also sailed on many of the other ships of the Co. including the Waiana which was I believe a coaler. I'm trying to think of the name of the ship they referred to as the "rock and roller" that was unstable in the smoothest of seas!? Dad ended up on the light house supply ship delivering batteries and goods to the lighthouse families.
 

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Hi everybody, my father Vic Zaremba was a sparky on the Matua in the 60's. He also sailed on many of the other ships of the Co. including the Waiana which was I believe a coaler. I'm trying to think of the name of the ship they referred to as the "rock and roller" that was unstable in the smoothest of seas!? Dad ended up on the light house supply ship delivering batteries and goods to the lighthouse families.
HiPavelZ
Matua was my first ship in Feb. 1964, I remember it well as Id just turned 15 years old a week or so before we sailed. I was on her for 7 trips so I possible knew your father, do you have any photos of him or any other crew member's at the time ? Would appreciate seeing them of you do as all my pictures of my time at sea ad discharge papers were lost several years ago, which annoyed me no end.
I look forward to hearing from you.
 

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she used to sit out on the dolfins and unload with barges.But when we arrived at the new wharfe with Mr McFarlane to cut the tape etc,I think the most memorable site was one old Samoan man who just stood on the wharfe and touched the ship side saying "Matua" with tears in his eyes,she was a grand old lady.Doug P.
Hi Shad
Yes, when I was on her in 64, the barges were in use. At the time all the bananas for NZ were sourced from Samoa and Tonga, if my memory serves me correct, we'd spend 5 days unloading general cargo, including quite a few vehicles / loading bananas in Apia before heading to Nukualofa before heading back to Suva then Auckland. The people of the Islands had a great deal of affection for Matua and Tofua as these ships were a link for them with other isands and NZ before cheap commercial flights became available.
Were you a crew member?
 

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hi guys,i am posting on behalf of my dad and have seen a lot of pics taken of the union ships.i may be able to upload them at a later date.they were taken in various ports around the world.
dad kept all the dinner menus as well. :)
Hi Roy
As you may have seen on other posts, I was a crew member on Matua in 64, when was yore Dad on her and what was his role in the crew? I may have known him.
Mike
 

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Maitua was moored forward west side Princes wharf about 1959 while my ship ,Banana carrier Navua , was in the opposite Eastern berth and I had a visit fro Matua's Chief Engineer Dick Butt who I had sailed with on the collier Kaitangata . He offered me the job of third engineer which carried a higher pay rate for a bigger ship plus all the overtime you cared to work but after one lap around Matua's engine room i baulked at the offer. Navua' engineroom was like an ice cream parlour compared with Dantes inferno and after showing Dick the golden surup coloured lube oil circulating through Navua's Sultzer he understood .
A mate of mine , Mike Jackson , served as electrician on Matua in the early sixties and confirmed that she was a workhouse for the engineering crew.
She was Queen Salotes favourite in her day and a grand old ship in her time.

Bob
 

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HiPavelZ
Matua was my first ship in Feb. 1964, I remember it well as Id just turned 15 years old a week or so before we sailed. I was on her for 7 trips so I possible knew your father, do you have any photos of him or any other crew member's at the time ? Would appreciate seeing them of you do as all my pictures of my time at sea ad discharge papers were lost several years ago, which annoyed me no end.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Hi Mike, thanks for your comments. Unfortunately I can't put my hands on any photos at the moment as most of my stuff in storage. You don't happen to know the names of any of the Lighthouse tenders at the time? I did a search but nothing jumped out at me. For some reason I thought he was on the Endeavour, she was actually a New Zealand Navy vessel. I did locate a HMNZS Endeavour which was a supply vessel to the Antartic. I could not find any reference to her operating as a lighthouse tender though? I remember at the time my father saying some of their work was classified. Perhaps she filled in that role when other vessels were laid-up?
 

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Hi PavelZ,
my brother Mike Kearsley was on the Matua as Asst. purser from May 62 untill May 63 so I heard about the damage etc when she had to battle that Hurricane, your query about lighthouse tenders reminds me of the Matai which I think sailed Wellington -Picton/Nelson for a while then and as a tender-cable layer and berthed, then laid up for a while at Shelly Bay untill she was sold, not sure for further service or scrap, a good looking looking ship.
 

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Hi - I am researching the MV Matua - I am interested in stories people would like to share about their experiences, please message me and I can also share more about my project, AL
 
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