Mine was a fairly brief encounter with the British & Commonwealth serving on both Union-Castle and Clan Line ships.
It was a great experience which I have never regretted.
On obtaining a Second Mates ticket I joined the Union Steam Ship Company Ltd of NZ as a deck officer and quit the sea to become a maritime journalist with the New Zealand Herald after obtaining a Foreign Going mates ticket so spent most of my adult life writing about ships and the sea fore New Zealand's largest daily newspaper and being a part time correspondent for Lloyds List..
I kept my personal interest in the sea alive by becoming a Sea Cadet Officer with NZ Cadet Forces and commanded T S Achilles and Auckland for a number of years.
The book tells the history of the British and New Zealand Merchant Navies including the rise and fall of the Merchant Navy from Viking times to the introduction of large container ships in the 1970s, as well as exploring the slavery and convict voyages to Australia and the United States from Britain.
“I spent about seven years at sea followed by 20 years in journalism at the New Zealand Herald. When I left the sea to join the Herald I became a maritime reporter. I covered the waterfront, the Port of Auckland and shipping,”
“It was an extension of seafaring, instead of giving it up, I was writing about it. I witnessed a major transformation coupled with a huge decline in British and New Zealand shipping. The new technology of container ships replaced old style conventional cargo ships and one container ship would replace 10 conventional ships. A lot of jobs were lost and a lot of shipping companies went under. It was the end of an era.”
“When I first went to sea back in 1960, Britain had the biggest shipping fleet in the world. When I left the New Zealand Herald it had a very small fleet so there was a story there to be written.”
A number of Mangawhai stories are included in the book and it examines some New Zealand ship disasters including the Union Steam Ship Company’s ‘Kaitawa’ on Pandora Bank in Cape Reinga.
“The museum represents our coastal community and the book includes information about some of the ships that visited Mangawhai, so we are the perfect place for the book launch,” says museum manager Emma Gray.
The book will be on sale in the museum gift shop and from all the usual book selling websites including amazon.com.