Manaia, steamer: When on one of her usual passages from Taurana to Auckland the steamer went ashore on Slipper Island, off the Coromandel Peninsula, and about 100 miles from Auckland, at 11.20 p.m on June 10, 1926. The Manaia carried 55 passangers and a crew of 36, all of whom were saved, but the ship became a total loss. The Northern Steamshi[ Company’s steamer Ngapuhi, then bound from Whangarei to Auckland, was diverted to the wrecked steamers assistance, and conveyed her passengers tp Auckland. The Manaia struck the rocks during a blindin grainstorm.
At first the captain thought it possible that the vessel might slide back into deep water so he kept the propellers going. The situation of the steamer became hopeless on th eafternoon of June 11. A long swell caused the ship to heave and grind, every movement aggravating the damage done to her bows, and increasing the inrush of water. Early in the afternoon the water in the forehold, which had been increasing from the time the ship struck, got out of hand. At 4 p.m the water sprad to the engine-room and after hold. Every pump was working to full capacity, but the water still rose. The firemen worked kneedeep in water to maintain steam, and the engineers toiled in the rising water. Shortly after 6 p.m. the furnaces were fired for the last time, and the stokehold was vacated as the water rose round the boilers. Within a few minutes the fires were extinguished by flooding, and at 6.20 p.m. the Manaia’s engines stopped for the first time since she struck. The holds were filled with water when the crew left in the ship’s boats for the steamer Rimu, which had also been sent to the rescue. The master, chief engineer, and the chief steward spent the night on the wrecked vessel. For onethird of the Manaia’s length there were masses of rock on both sides. The rest of the ship was overhanging in fairly deep water. At low water the bow was almost high and dry. The work of transferring the passengers from the Manaia to the Ngapuhi in the Manaia’s lifeboats was carried out without incident or mishap.
The Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Manaia found that while the vessel was on her usual course she was carried off that course nearly three miles by the time she was in the vicinity of Slipper Island. The court was of the opinion that the vessel was lost owing to a set taking her off her course and to the poor visibility preventing the vessel’s position being realised until too late. The court exonerated the master, and commended his action in connection with his conduct after the vessel struck. With regard to the third officer, who was on watch at the time, while not blaming him for the loss of the vessel, the court was of the opinion that, in view of his having had no previous experience of the Auckland to Tauranga run, he showed over-confidence in not calling the master earlier owing to the heavy rain squalls, poor visibility, and want of experience on the run. While the court was of the opinion that the third officer was wrong in not calling the master earlier, and although the comment stood, yet no order would be made in regard to his certificate.
The Manaia, No. 101,481, was a steel, screw steamer of 1,159 tons gross and 630 tons net register, built at Dumbarton in 1898, and her dimensions were : length 220 ft., beam 33.1 ft., depth 13.2 ft. Her engines were of 104 h.p. She was built for the Union Steam Ship Company and was originally named Rotoiti. In 1912 the steamer was purchased by the Northern Steamship Company for the Auckland-Whangarei trade, and was renamed Manaia. Captain W. F. Norbury was in
command of the vessel when she was wrecked on Slipper Island. (See plate 98.)