RAKIURA, steamer: The wreck of the steamer occurred at Stephen Island with dramatic suddenness, the vessel striking a rock within 20 yards of the shore at 4:57 a.m. on April 14, 1915. The crew launched a boat and made for D’Urville Island, which they reached at 9 a.m. Most of them were in scanty attire and were quite worn out when they landed.
The Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Rakiura was held at Wellington on April 20. Captain James Boyd, master of the vessel, stated that ten minutes before the vessel struck the log showed 48 miles, whereas it ought to have shown 58 miles. He reckoned that the Rakiura was ten miles off Stephen Island. The weather was thick, and his last check of position was by Farewell light at 4.50 a.m. Both wind and tide were setting against the vessel. The court found that the wreck was caused by an error of judgement on the part of the master in not making sufficient allowance for leeway. No action was taken against his certificate, but he was ordered to pay the costs of the inquiry.
The Rakiura, No. 78,369, was an iron, screw steamer of 132 tons gross and 99 tons net register, built at Mechanics Bay, Auckland, in 1878 by Messrs. Fraser and Tinne, and her dimensions were : length 102.5 ft., beam 17.1 ft., depth 9.5 ft. Her engines were of 109 h.p. She was built to the order of Captain J. Casey, and was originally named Rose Casey. The steamer sustained severe damage when she went ashore at Riverton in September, 1905, but was more fortunate when she stranded at Waikawa on July 11, 1906. After being refloated practically undamaged, the vessel was sold and renamed Rakiura. On February 17, 1907, the steamer stranded at Wiltshire Bay, near Nugget Point, and remained aground for some months.