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A selection of wrecks with further information and links.

This part of the site is an on going process of finding where information on certain wrecks can be found, some of the wrecks mentioned will have small blurbs, some will only have a list of links. Also listed will be books that have information about the wreck, though, omitted will be New Zealand Shipwrecks as it can pretty much be taken for granted that this book has information on almost all wrecks.
NOTE: Names of books are given only, further information can be found listed in the Site Bibliography.
Also, there are several articles about recent trips to local wrecks on the Dive New Zealand web site, click NZ Wreck Sites from the side menu.


Able Tasman 1936
Wrecked 18th July 1936, Steamer, Greymouth
This vessel sank when breaking her moorings during a flood tide and fouling with the wreck of the Kaponga. The remains now lie 20 metres north of the North Tiphead at Greymouth in 5 metres of water. Some wreckage breaks water at low tide. Books
The Wreck Book

December 1809, Full-rigged Ship, Whangaroa
Burnt to the water line and sunk after an incident involving local Maori. This vessel featured on the recent series of "Shipwreck". Partially Salvaged by Kelly Tarlton and Wade Doak in 1968, many artefacts from this wreck are on display at "Kelly Tarlton's Museum of Shipwrecks" in Paihia.
Books The Wreck Book
Burning of the Boyd, Wade Doak

HMS Buffalo 1840
Two seaman lost there lives when this Royal Naval vessel was totally wrecked at Mercury Bay.

Foundered at sea near Lord Howe Island, June 1921
It is believe that she may have "blown up" as there was cause for concern re reported leaks in her benzine cargo. Charred remains believed to be from this vessel came ashore on Lord Howe Island.

Cecilia Sudden
8th September 1921, Schooner, Hauraki Gulf

Drifted ashore on the southern end of Great Barrier Island after catching fire while en route from Newcastle, NSW, to Callao with a cargo of coal and kerosene. The wreck lies in 5-12 metres of water and is covered in kelp.


The Wreck Book

Columbia River
8th September 1921, Schooner, Kermadec Islands

When on passage from Auckland to Portland this huge five-masted schooner was wrecked on Sunday Island in the Kermadecs.

Burned at sea on November 17th 1874, West of Cape of Good Hope while carrying emigrants to New Zealand from the United kingdom.

7 March 1874, Barque Owhiro Bay, Wellington South Coast
A severe gale caused the loss of five lives when this vessel was driven on to the rocks in Owhiro Bay. This vessel was dived on by a group of French divers who took many artefacts back to France including the ship's bell and sextant. The site has been extensively scoured over the years and has even been subjected to pumping. Several gold coins have been recovered. The site is now very bare, and apart from the odd piece of copper and brass there is no sign of the wreck.
The Wreck Book Links
Wreck Information

Day Dawn
11th July 1879, Schooner, Wellington Harbour Went ashore on Ward Island while collecting ballast to be taken into Wellington. There has been a recent claim that the remains of this vessel have been located.

2nd August 1918, Steamer, Wellington Harbour
This vessel went out with a bang that shook Wellington after being towed away from Kings Wharf after smoke was noticed coming from the hold. The small steamer was carrying 1200 cases of benzine at the time. The remains of this vessel lie in 4-7 metres of water on the northern end of Somes Island and is an interesting dive being a still fairly intact wooden vessel.
The Wreck Book
New Zealand Tragedies: Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters.
Wreck Information

7 March 1907, Barque, Auckland Islands
This large four-masted barque was wrecked with the loss of eleven lives when it ran aground on Disappointment Island, part of the Auckland Islands group. The survivors spent eight months on the island before being rescued. This vessel is occasionally visited by dive crews on their way to the General Grant.
The Wreck Book

SS Devon
SS Devon 25th August 1913, Steamer, Wellington Harbour
Struck rocks at Pencarrow Head when en route from Auckland to Wellington. The remains are now a large mass of rusting plates, but the odd crayfish makes this an ideal dive.
The Wreck Book
New Zealand Tragedies: Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters

Edwin Fox
Layed up in 1965 in Shakespeare Bay near Picton where she lay until the Edwin Fox Preservation Society moved her to Picton in 1986 where she is currently under going preservation.

12th December 1841 , Full-rigged Ship, Palliser Bay and Cape This New York owned vessel went ashore in foul weather with no loss of life but total loss of vessel

Eli Whitney
24 February 1877, Hulk, Wellington Harbour
This vessel sunk after being struck by a steamer at night with the loss of two lives, (a woman and her child). The steamer later claimed the hulk was displaying no lights, which was the cause of the collision. Recent attempts to locate the remains have been fruitless, a sad testament to the amount of silt in the inner harbour. The vessel's remains were temporally exposed in the 1930s when the steamer "Maori" snagged her anchor on them.


The Wreck Book
The Elingamite and its Treasure
A full acount and history including passenger and crew list

2nd December 1914 , Trawler, Napier
Washed ashore after engine failure, and became a total loss. The remains of this vessel lie on a sand bottom in 7 metres of water with boiler and scattered steel visible. Books
The Wreck Book

Enterprise and Tauranga
The wreck of these two vessels occurred when they collided with the loss of 18 lives. The Enterprise carried no lights and this was accounted for as the cause.

27 February 1842, Barque, Nelson
Early immigrant vessel wrecked on Arrow Reef when caught by an ebb tide. Links
A passenger list from her first voyage to New Zealand

Forrest Hall
27 February 1909, Full-rigged Ship, Ninety Mile Beach, Northland
Wrecked on a voyage from Australia to Chile via Cook Strait, when in broad daylight on a calm day she sailed on to 90-Mile Beach. The Broken up vessel is exposed above the sands from time to time and lies in the surf line. At 276.6 ft in length this would be one of the longest sailing ships wrecked in New Zealand waters. Books
The Wreck Book

16th January 1884, Barque, Turakina River
Driven ashore during a gale while sailing for Newcastle from Wellington. During World War Two the wreck was used as target practise by training pilots. What remains of this vessel is still in the area but has been buried to stop people visiting it. Many farm buildings in the area have been built with timber from this vessel, and it is believed that the bell is now in a local School or Church.

5th January 1903 , Steamer, Taranaki Coast
Went aground late at night on Taranaki coast with no loss of life. The remains of this vessel are still visible. Books
The Wreck Book

General Grant 1866
Wrecked upon the inhospital Auckland Islands with great loss of life and a cargo of gold.

3rd January 1864, Brigantine, Auckland Islands
Captain Thomas Musgrove wrote a book of his time castaway on this uninviting island, it tends to have a much-repeated theme, "Today we clubbed to death and ate a seal". This wreck is a credit to his ability to organise and lead, as no lives were lost during this long stay in such hostile conditions. Remains of the vessel and castaways shelter still remain on the island. It is believed that the Grafton was built from the remains of an older wreck. Books
The Wreck Book

8th January 1896, Barque, Wellington Harbour Wrecked in Fitzroy Bay, 90 days out from London with a cargo of general merchandise for Wellington. The Wreck was located in 1955 and has been extensively dived since. Books
The Wreck Book

The Hydrabad was driven ashore on the mainland north of Kapiti Island at Waitarere. The wreck was a prominent landmark for many years, but sadly now is all but gone, though it is still worth a visit.

"Wake of the Invercauld" Links
About the wreck and the book

December 1840 , Cutter, Wanganui
The cutter was found with all sail set, ashore 15 miles south of Wanganui. Three bodies were located nearby, one with head separated from the trunk. There was no sign of the other two crew from this vessel, which had sailed from Wellington for Wanganui.

Jessie Readman
23rd December 1893, Full-rigged Ship, Chatham Islands
During a heavy fog this vessel sailed onto the beach at Mananea on the north coast of the Chatham Islands. Timbers from this vessel were used by locals to build two homes, unfortunately neither of these are still in existence. Some parts of this vessel are visible at low tide.
Some General Info and a Passenger list

Kaitawa 1966
This collier was lost with all hands when approaching Cape Reinga in fairly foul weather with westerly winds up to 43 knots and heavy seas.

Kate Monaghan
Kate Monaghan 2nd January 1876, Schooner, Manawatu River This vessel became a total loss when she ran ashore in a strong gale. Spars from this vessel were used to build part of the wharf at Foxton.

(Formally Awarua) 1990, Bluff, Scuttled.
This vessel was scuttled to form an artificial reef off Ruapuke Island, South East of Bluff.
The Wreck Book

5th May 1940, Coal Hulk, Marlborough Sounds This vessel was scuttled in 11 metres of water after an eventful career that saw her start out as a steamer and finish her days as a coal hulk.
The Wreck Book

3rd December 1896 , Ketch, Wellington Harbour
This vessel sank at her moorings off Clyde Quay in a north-west gale and became a total loss.

Loch Lomond
16th July 1908, Full-rigged Ship, Northland
This vessel left Newcastle, NSW, bound for Lyttelton on July 16th, and was not heard from again, over the next few months wreckage belonging to this vessel was washed up from Hokianga to Thames.

Lord Worsley
1st September 1862, Steamer, Taranaki Coast This vessel was wrecked on the Taranaki Coast during the New Zealand wars, and the 60 passengers and crew who all made it safely ashore were in danger of being massacred, or so it was believed. The Maori eventually helped all survivors reach the safety of Pakeha territory, along with their belongings.
The Wreck Book

30th September 1886, Steamer, French Pass After striking a reef the vessel sank in Currents Bay with no lives lost. The vessel now makes an interesting dive in an area abundant with sea life.
The Wreck Book

16th December 1929 , Steamer, Long Point (Otago)
This Union Steam Ship Company vessel became a total when she struck rocks at Long Point south of the Nuggets shortly before midnight. It was fortunate and a credit to the crew and lack of panic that no lives were lost considering most went to the lifeboats wearing only what they had been asleep in. Having been commercially salvaged this vessel is now well broken up, but is still an interesting dive owing to the size of the vessel.

The Wreck Book
Shipwrecks Around New Zealand

11th January 1890, Full-rigged Ship.
Lost at sea Like its more famous counterpart the Dunedin, this refrigeration vessel sailed for England with a cargo of frozen meat and was not heard from again. However, there are reports that 23 years after she went missing a vessel was found aground off the coast of Tierra Del Fuego. The vessel was in a poor rotten state and many skeletons, still clothed, were found on the ship. The words "Marlborough Glasgow" were found on the stern.
New Zealand Tragedies: Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters

Mary Ann Wade
20 March 1842, Schooner, Wellington Harbour
Owned by prominent businessman John Wade, the second vessel to be built in Wellington, and the first to be wreck in the harbour. All efforts to find this vessel have been fruitless.

14th December 1871 , Schooner, Kaipara Harbour
A total wreck near Pouto Point on Kaipara's North head, a bay in the area now bears her name. A few years back the remains of a vessel were uncovered near Midge Rock, though the identity was never established.

Mikhail Lermontov
170 metres, 20,000 tonne Soviet cruiseliner, sunk in the Outer Marlbourgh Sounds.

27th March 1867, Full-Rigged Ship, Napier
Caught fire and burnt to the water line, sinking in a few metres of water. The wreckage is now scattered over a large area and lies directly out in front of the children's play ground south of the inner Harbour. If not covered by sand this is an interesting dive, or snorkel and its easy accessibility makes it a good site for beginners. A boiler lies nearby and breaks water at low tide.
The Wreck Book

16th January 1905, Steamer, Wellington Harbour
Wrecked while traveling from Blenheim to Wellington with a cargo of Wool and Chaff. Local divers frequently dive on this wreck.
The Wreck Book

11th May 1887, Full-rigged Ship, Bay View Beach, Hawke Bay
Broke anchorage in a severe storm and ran aground, no lives were lost on the Northumberland. However, four people died when a rescue boat capsized. After the 1931 earthquake lifted the Bay View Area higher it also lifted the wreckage of this vessel, and is now visible at low tide. In the mid-late eighties Cyclone Bola wrecked havoc in the Hawkes Bay region, the waves from the storm was enough to bring large pieces of wreckage ashore. Many bronze pins becoming souvenirs for locals.
The Wreck Book

HMS Orpheus
7th February 1863, Steam Corvette, Manukau Harbour
New Zealand's worst maritime disaster in terms of lives lost, with the death toll being 189. She struck a sandbank when entering harbour and was broadsided by waves and soon filled. Her wreckage makes an appearance form time to time in the shifting sands of Manukau Harbour.
The Wreck of the HMS Orpheus.
New Zealand Tragedies: Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters.
Shipwrecks Around New Zealand

HMS Osprey
11 February 1846, Brig, Hokianga
Wrecked without loss of lives when she mistook the entrance to Herekino for Hokianga. Part of the site was excavated with permission of the Historic Places Trust in the late sixties early seventies.

Oliver Lang
Oliver Lang 18th September 1858, Full-rigged Ship, Wellington Harbour
The vessel, leaking after a collision en route from Plymouth, was driven ashore during a storm while at anchor in Wellington Harbour. The fate of the vessel after this is interesting, for a time it was considered to set the vessel up as a jetty, similar to the arrangement that John Plimmer had with the ship Inconstant. But this was not to come to fruition and for many years the hulk was used to store cattle where it lay at Kaiwharawhara.
Wellington Harbour (Johnson)

30th January 1921, Auxiliary, Schooner Wellington
A tragic loss of life occurred when all six crew members drowned after this vessel capsized of Pencarrow Head.

4th December 1876 , Steamer, Chaslands Mistake With engines at full speed ahead this vessel struck ashore at Chaslands Mistake. Foundering in relatively shallow water which meant no loss of lives and recovery of luggage, mail and a supply of provisions. A great dive with much wreckage scattered about in 3-10 metres of water.
The Wreck Book

9th July 1906, Steamer, Wellington Heads Wrecked in Fiztroy Bay, this vessel was recovered from the shingle beach some years ago and is now on display nearby. This small narrow steamer is an interesting vessel to visit when in the Wellington area, and is visible from the Cook Strait Ferries.

Port Bowen
Port Bowen 19th July 1939, Steamer, Wanganui
Become a total loss when beached in sand. Unable to be salvaged, the vessel was dismantled for scraped were she lay.
New Zealand Tragedies: Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters
Shipwrecks Around New Zealand

Port Elliot
12th January 1924 , Steamer, East Cape Shortly before midnight this vessel went ashore on East Cape. No lives being lost. The remains make an interesting dive with wreckage scattered over a large area, her cargo was of general goods including motor cars.
The Wreck Book

Port Kembla
Port Kembla 18 September 1917, Steamer, Cape Farewell
This vessel became a victim of war when it struck an enemy mine while steaming near Cape farewell, there was no loss of life and the passengers and crew were rescued by the passing steamer Regulus.

Pride of the Yarra
6th July 1863, Steamer, Otago Harbour
Twelve Passengers were killed when this 24-ton Otago Harbour ferry collided with another harbour ferry the Favourite. The accident highlighted the need for life saving equipment to be carried on harbour ferries.

23rd January 1880, Brigantine, Palliser Bay and Cape
Went ashore near Mukamuka Rocks during a thick fog with out loss of life, the vessel broke up quickly after being abandoned.

Progress 1931
1st May 1931, Steamer, Wellington South Coast Four lives were lost when this small steamer went ashore in Owhiro Bay after braking its tail-shaft. The remains are accessible from the beach and is a popular site with local divers. A boiler and scattered steel are in the area, usually accompanied by small octopus. Books The Wreck Book Shipwrecks Around New Zealand Links Wreck Information

30th July 1873, Steamer, Cook Strait
While en route from Nelson to Wellington this vessel struck Cape Jackson in clear weather and sank. The location of the remains has always been known as she was extensively salvaged shortly after sinking. This is a popular dive destination for locals and divers en route to dive the Mikhail Lermontov.

SS Penguin
12 February 1909, Steamer, Cook Strait
Wellington's worst maritime disaster with the loss of 75 lives from a complement of 105 crew and passengers. The steamer was completing the Picton to Wellington run in foul weather when she struck Thom's rock at 9.45 p.m. Some divers have in the past claimed to have located this wreck, but as no proof has been given to support any claim in must be therefore be taken lightly.
The Wreck Book
New Zealand Tragedies: Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters

Hulk, sunk for break water off Moturekareka Island, Hauraki Gulf. The steel Barque "Rewa" which was sunk off Moturekareka Island near Kawau to form a breakwater around the year 1930 was at 3000 ton the biggest four-masted barque afloat in her day.

Robina Dunlop
13th August 1877, Barque, Turakina River
Ran aground while en route from Wellington to Batavia. The figurehead of this vessel is now part of the collection held by the Devonport Navel Base in Auckland. The remains of the wreck were gifted to a local chief in thanks for the way he helped the shipwrecked crew.

HMNZS South Sea
9th December 1942, Minesweeper, Wellington Harbour
Lost after a collision with the steamer Wahine she sank with no loss of life. Salvaged at the time by the navy who removed guns and other equipment. Relocated in 1974 by Ian Francis. Artefacts from this vessel can be found at "Kelly Tarlton's Museum of Shipwrecks" in Paihia.
The Wreck Book
Shipwrecks Around New Zealand
New Zealand Tragedies: Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters.
Throw me the Wreck Johnny

A dive to the wreck of the South Sea

Surat 1st January 1874, Full-rigged Ship, Catlins River Wrecked under interesting circumstances too long to go into here. Books The Wreck of the Surat Spinning Yarns

SS Taupo
18 February 1879, Taupo, Steamer Tauranga
Though her year of wreck is given as 1879, she was re-floated in 1881 and it was during a voyage under tow for Auckland that she sank in her present location near Mayor Island. This wreck was in the news in the early 1980s when unlawful blasting was carried out to remove non-ferrous metals for scrap. The Culprits were charged with and found guilty of "Willfully modifying an archaeological site". The charge later being overturned in the High Court on the grounds the diver did not know the wreck was over 100 years old.
Shipwrecks Around New Zealand
The Wreck Book

16th September 1919, Steamer, Gore Bay and Port Robinson Caught fire and sunk when part its cargo, of 1808 cases of benzine, exploded. Eight of the nine crew drowned when the boat they were leaving the sinking vessel in capsized.

29th July 1897, Steamer, Mahia Peninsula Sank with the loss of 18 lives when en route from Auckland to Napier. More famous for yielding up the famous Rothchild Jewels to Kelly Tarlton in 1975.
The Wreck Book

23rd July 1870, Ketch, and Tauranga, Steamer, Hauraki Gulf
The wreck of these two vessels occurred when they collided with the loss of 18 lives. The Enterprise carried no lights and this was accounted for as the cause.

Te Anau
Scuttled for the purpose of a break water at Whanganui
The Benzine Era

30th August 1916, Steamer, Portland Island
Sank after striking Bull Rock off Portland Island, Mahia Peninsula. The remains lie in 8-20 metres of water. This is a good example of a large interesting wreck being turned into a boring debris field by commercial salvors.

20th August 1940, Steamer, Tasman Sea A victim of war, this vessel was sunk when engaged in defending itself from the German raider Orion. The vessel sank with the loss of 36 lives of a compliment of 56. The 20 survivors being rescued by the Orion. This vessel featured on the recent television series 'Shipwreck".
New Zealand Tragedies: Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters

An article with more information about the sinking

11th January 1967 Motor Vessel Turnagain to Palliser
The rusted remains of this relatively recent wreck can still be found hard ashore on the Wairarapa coast. The vessel went aground while travelling from Noumea to Nelson with a cargo of Explosives.

4th July 1845, Barque, Wellington South Coast
Wrecked on the Rimarapa rocks near Sinclair Head, all hands being saved. A considerable amount of wreckage has been found in the area by divers, but no conclusive evidence that it is from the Tyne as several other vessels have been wrecked in this area.
The Wreck Book
Shipwrecks Around New Zealand

SS Wairarapa


The Wreck Book
Shipwrecks Around New Zealand
New Zealand Tragedies: Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters.
Eight Minutes Past Midnight: The Wreck of the S.S.Wairarapa

An acocunt of the stranding Photo

Wrecked on April 10th 1968 at the entrance to Wellington Harbour during a Storm that casued havoc from from Stewart Island in the South to as far up as the Three Kings in the North.

4th January 1910, Steamer, Fiordland Tourism was alive and well in the early part of last century and the Union Steam Ship Company cashed in on the picturesque Fiordland with excursions in the vessel Waikere. It was during one of these trips that she grounded and later sank at the entrance to Dusky Sound, without loss of life. The wreck makes an interesting if very remote site to dive on.
The Wreck Book
Shipwrecks Around New Zealand

6th September 1924, Steamer, Waipapa Point, South Island Wrecked when going ashore in thick fog, the vessel was cut up where she lay and very little remains of her today.

Wellington 7th March 1874, Full-rigged Ship, Owhiro Bay, Wellington South Coast Two lives were lost when this vessel caught in the same gale as the Cyrus was also wrecked in Owhiro Bay. All that remains is a donkey boiler and two anchors, though it is suspected that one of these anchors has recently been removed from the site.
The Wreck Book

Wreck Information

Wild Deer

An account of the grounding and wreck.

12th December 1841 , Barque, Wellington Harbour
During the same storm, which resulted in the loss of the Elbe in Palliser Bay, came Wellington's first recorded shipwreck with the loss of the Winwick in Lyall Bay. The vessel was carrying a cargo of whale oil for John Wade, most of which was recovered.

14th July 1907, Barque, Cape Terawhiti
Two lives were lost when this vessel sank near the Karori Rock Lighthouse. The remains lie approximately 30 metres offshore in 2-4 metres with the bow breaking water at low tide.
The Wreck Book

7th September 1869, Paddle Steamer, Hokitika
This paddle steamer helped many a ship across this treacherous bar and was a very popular vessel with visiting sailing ships. It become stranded on the North Spit and become a total loss.

The Wreck of The "Zuleika", Palliser Bay.

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