RANGATIRA, steamer : While on her passage from Manukau to New Plymouth the steamer ran ashore near Bell Block, on the Taranaki coast, early on the morning of September 7, 1880, and became a total wreck. The master was on deck at I a.m.; it was a fine clear night, and no special danger being apprehended, he left the mate in charge of the bridge. At 2 a.m. the master and passengers, numbering eight, were awakened by a slight shock, followed by a second one. The captain was on deck a few seconds after the first shock, and while realising the danger to his ship, was unable to prevent the disaster. It was then found that the Rangatira was hard and fast on the reef known as Pefferie’s Fishing Nook, about two miles north of New Plymouth. The engines were unworkable, and the steamer was caught in the rocks as though in a vice. The water making an appearance in the compartments, the boats were lowered and the passengers and mail taken ashore. At 10 a.m. the same day the water was washing over the steamer, and the master was compelled to abandon her. The Rangatira soon commenced to break up and the hull was sold by auction.
The Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Rangatira found that no blame was attached to the engineer or second officer, but that the master was culpable in not having kept a proper lookout, and neglecting to use the log, but the negligence was not sufficient to warrant the suspension of his certificate. The chief officer was most to blame, and the court considered him guilty of gross care-lessness, as he must have seen not only the New Plymouth light, but also the light of the Govern-ment steamer Hinemoa, then lying in the road-stead. The chief officer’s certificate was suspended for six months.
The Rangatira, No. 45,951, was an iron, screw steamer of 239 tons gross and 196 tons net register, built at Dundee in 1863, her two engines being of 65 h.p., and her dimensions were : length 144.8 ft., beam 20.6 ft., depth 9.7 ft. She was owned by the New Zealand Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., and was under the command of Captain Edward Harvey.
HANNAH BROOMFIELD, brigantine: Totally wrecked at Pencarrow Head while beating into Wellington Harbour on the morning of October 4, 1880. The vessel sailed from Hobart on September 24 with a cargo of timber, and en-countered strong southerly gales until making Cape Farewell, Wellington Heads were made at midnight on October 3, and the brigantine com-menced to beat in against a strong north-west wind. Everything went well until 6 a.m., when, as the vessel was going about, she missed stays, and before the anchor could be dropped she struck on the reef. A pilot and his crew arrived shortly after to render assistance, but, finding nothing further could be done, went ashore again. The brigantine lay across a ledge of rocks, with the water up to the main deck, and she filled so quickly that the captain was unable to save anything in the cabin.
The Hannah Broomfield, No. 49,294, was a brigantine of 134 tons register, built on the Tweed River, N.S.W., in 1865, and her dimensions were: length 90 ft., beam 22 ft., depth 9.8 ft. She was owned by Messrs. Stewart and Co., timber merchants, and was commanded by Captain F. W. Highfield.