This newsletter is prepared every three months and features news, views and interviews related to the nautical activity in New Zealand. If you have suggestions for content or story ideas, please email them to us, and we will develop the items into newsletter topics. Meantime we hope you enjoy reading this. Check back every two months for the updated version. Previous newsletters are also held on this website under the Archive Newsletters heading.

Latest Newsletter:  August – November 2017


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Above:  Andrew Turner, Deputy Mayor of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula Ward Councillor, speaks at the Timeball tower blessing ceremony as, from left, John Clarke, Chairman of the Māori Heritage Council, Andrew Coleman,  Chief Executive of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and Kerepeti Paraone from Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke listen.  Credit: Heritage New Zealand

It was a cold, but thankfully clear, morning in July as a blessing ceremony was held at the Timeball site in Lyttelton to mark the beginning of onsite work to return the Timeball tower and working Timeball to the port town.

The $3 million dollar project has been largely funded thanks to the generosity of Landmark Inc, the Lottery Grants Board, Stout Trust and Parkinson Memorial Park Trust (through Perpetual Guardian), Holcim and the Mainland Foundation, plus fantastic support from the Lyttelton, and wider, community. With onsite work now underway, Lyttelton locals will be able to follow the progress of the build. Work is expected to be complete by the end of April next year.

Heritage Destinations General Manager Nick Chin said the aim was to make the tower as authentic as possible.

“We want to ensure that when the locals see the building it’s familiar.”

Hawkins Construction is the main contractor for the project, working alongside The Building Intelligence Group (project manager), Possenniskie Consultants Limited (quantity surveyor), Dave Pearson Architects (architect), Ruamoko Solutions (structural engineer), Geotech Consulting (geotech engineer) and Bosworth Stone Limited (stonemason).

Source – Heritage New Zealand magazine


By Lucy Swinnen

After 28 years of watching over Wellington harbour, Harbourmaster Mike Pryce has said goodbye.

Retiring just one day shy of his 70th birthday, Captain Pryce spent the first half of his professional life working at sea and the second half with his eyes fixed on it, in his role as the Wellington regional harbourmaster. His fondest memories of his time as harbourmaster were watching the fireworks, the powerboat races and special events held on the harbour.

There was always something different happening on the water, he said. “But the variety was what kept you challenged. Wellington Harbour plays host to commercial ships, Cook Strait ferries and local punters,” he said.  So there was always something different going on, and thanks to Wellington’s wild weather, usually something unpredictable too.

“We all know the danger with Wellington as the weather can change quite quickly. “[There was] never usually a ‘typical’ day, even when you think that you have the day planned. Unexpected incidents with shipping can take place, or severe weather can cause problems.”

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Wellington Harbourmaster Mike Pryce at the Beacon Hill station. Photo Robert Kitchin, Stuff NZ

Originally from a small port town north of Blackpool in the United Kingdom, as Wellington harbourmaster, he was charged with responding to marine oil spills along the west coast of the lower North Island, as far north as Otaki, and on the east coast as far north as Castlepoint in Wairarapa. During his 28-year tenure, he was involved in everything from cleaning up oil spills to the sinking of old ships, coordinating fireworks, powerboats and swimming races.

In his much-loved capital harbour, it was his responsibility to ensure there were no conflicts of interest between casual paddle boarders and cargo ship deliveries.

Before coming aboard as harbourmaster, Mr Pryce spent 23 years as a career mariner. He worked his way up the ship ranks, while travelling around the world, regularly completing six month ‘tours’ on tankers. His longest non-stop voyage was 18,901 kilometres from Dampier in northern Australia to Taranto, Italy, via the Cape of Good Hope. It took 38 days.

But his longest single role as the Wellington and Porirua Harbourmaster afforded him different opportunities.

“The harbour scenery is magnificent,” he said. “The fact that you can see across Cook Strait on most days shows that New Zealand has a very clean atmosphere. In some ports you might not even see across the harbour.”

Mr Pryce will keep up his role as the editor, secretary and president of the New Zealand Ship and Marine Society.

 Source – Stuff


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Police minister Paula Bennett says the Port of Tauranga is being used to smuggle drugs into the country. Photo Matt Shand, Fairfax NZ

Police minister Paula Bennett says the Port of Tauranga is being used to smuggle drugs into the country. One million containers move through the Port of Tauranga every year making them a hiding spot for illicit drugs.

During a recent visit to Tauranga Police Station , Ms Bennett said New Zealand’s busiest port was being used for smuggling.

“It is something to be expected,” she said. “It’s happening all over our ports in New Zealand. There is no doubt more drugs are getting into the country.”

Paula Bennett visited the Tauranga Police  to discuss an escalating strategy in the war against gangs. She was in Tauranga to talk about the establishment of a new organised crime unit, based in Tauranga, which would tackle organised crime head on. The unit been tasked with seizing $400 million worth of criminal assets over the next four years.

Following Ms Bennett’s comments a Port of Tauranga spokeswoman said drug detection operations were routinely undertaken at the port but, to maintain operational secrecy they were unable to disclose specifics.

“We work very closely with the various agencies and authorities that police New Zealand borders for regulatory compliance, biosecurity protection and criminal activity,” she said. “We have a proactive working relationship with the NZ Police, Customs, Ministry for Primary Industries and other agencies that work in detection and prevention.”

Meanwhile, Ms Bennett said gangs were expanding operations in New Zealand as the price Kiwi’s pay well for narcotics.

“We pay more for drugs than other areas of the world,” she said.

While more efforts were being made to stop drugs entering the country, drug users might find themselves left out in the cold as Ms Bennett said additional rehabilitation centres were not the answer to the country’s growing addiction problem. Instead she said family led initiatives would take preference, although Ms Bennett admitted shed never had any experience with anyone dealing with meth addiction.

“We need community led initiatives around education and helping families identity at risk family members earlier,” she said. “There are a lot of myths around rehabilitation that you can only do it in a facility for 16 weeks. It is possible to get off P in a positive environment support from family and friends. A lot of people have overcome P addiction away from residential rehab.”

Rehabilitation centres report residential beds for methamphetamine addiction were usually full of people wanting help.

Te Utuhina Manaakitanga Trust manager Donna Blair said “they are the easiest beds to fill” and there needs to be a continuum of care options for people seeking rehabilitation.

“I don’t completely disagree [with Ms Bennett’s stance] but people with addiction have a right to care,” she said. “Some will do well rehabilitating from home but there are many that need more intensive treatment.”

Source – Stuff NZ


While more and more Kiwis take to the water in recreational craft (more than 1.4 million last summer) the number of recreational boating fatalities has not increased.
Maritime NZ released annual boating statistics today (July 26) showing 16 boaties died in recreational boating accidents in the last financial year (1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017). This compares to 16 in the previous year, 31 the year before, and 22 during 2013-14.

Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch, said years of work by the Safer Boating Forum has focused on changing boaties’ behaviour and reducing the fatality rate. Action is already under way for the next summer with the intent of maintaining and encouraging safer behaviour and further reducing fatalities.

“We have been using a mix of compliance activities, advertising and education to get the safer boating message to boaties, and we have used research to focus our campaigns,” Mr Manch said.  “Your lifejacket is your number one piece of safety equipment, and we urge boaties to back that up with waterproof emergency communications. If you can’t call for help, then no one can rescue you. We know nearly 90% of boaties have lifejackets and 76% are wearing them always or most of the time. It is highly likely that this factor is contributing to the decreasing fatality rate.

“VHF radio and distress beacons are the best emergency communications to take on a boat. A quarter of boaties have a VHF radio and 18 percent have a distress beacon. “We know most boaties take a cell phone with them on the water and we have taken advantage of that to create the ‘Virtual Coastwatch’. This recognises when a boatie is online on the water and sends them a lifejacket safety message. Four million lifejacket reminders were sent to boaties last year. The number of boaties is increasing, and that is pushing up the number of inexperienced people on the water. We need to get the basic safer boating messages to them.”

Fatalities in 2016-17 continued the pattern that most people who die in boating accidents are men, aged over 40 years old, in smaller craft under six metres, usually not wearing a lifejacket.

“Of the 16 people who died in 2016-17, 15 were men, one was a woman; 11 were over 40 years, three were under 40, two were of unknown age; 10 were in vessels under 6 metres long, six in larger vessels; eight were not wearing lifejackets, one was wearing a lifejacket, and in seven cases it is not known if a lifejacket was worn.

Source – Maritime New Zealand


By Joel Ineson

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The Milford Wanderer was built in 1992. (File photo supplied)

About 30 passengers were evacuated from a cruise ship in Port Pegasus, Stewart Island, after it became stuck on rocks.

Tourism operator Real Journeys’ ship, Milford Wanderer, hit the rocks at low tide, at about 9am. A spokeswoman for the company said 30 passengers, three Department of Conservation (DOC) staff and six crew were on board. No-one was hurt and passengers boarded other craft to continue on a scheduled three-hour walk while the ship’s skipper and crew checked the ship for damage.

“An initial inspection showed no obvious signs of damage and the incoming tide released the vessel,” the spokeswoman said. “Real Journeys flew its engineering manager and divers by helicopter to fully inspect and assess the situation. This confirmed that the damage was confined to the paint work under the boat.”

Maritime New Zealand spokeswoman Pania Shingleton confirmed the authority had been notified and kept up to date while Real Journeys resolved the situation.

“There were no injuries and no oil was spilt. They activated their own safety plan and kept us informed,”  Ms Shingleton said. “As I understand it, in Stewart Island at the moment, there are quite big king tides, which are making things just a little tricky.”

The Wanderer, which sleeps 36 passengers, was entering a cove to drop passengers off for the walk to Bald Cone when the incident happened. Passengers were picked up by the Foveaux Express after their walk and transported back to Oban, in Stewart Island, where they spent the night. The Wanderer was being taken to Paterson’s Inlet for an independent surveyor to inspect the ship. Provided they were satisfied the ship was safe, passengers would return to the boat on Friday morning.

The trip was day two of a six-day conservation expedition run in conjunction with DOC. The Wanderer was built in 1992 for multi-day trips in the remote southern waters around Fiordland and Stewart Island. An alternative ship had been put on standby so the conservation expedition could continue, regardless of the Wanderer’s outcome.

Source – Stuff NZ 


The NZMS nautical website attracted 47,356 hits last month, and has averaged more than 50,000 hits each month so far this year. It is encouraging to know that members are using the website, and keeping in touch with industry activities, and their former student colleagues.

The support shown by students and graduates from the NZMS courses give us a lot of confidence in building the Alumni, and we are delighted with the positive feedback we have received.  We are still pushing ahead to build membership too, so please keep telling your friends and colleagues about the NZMS Alumni website, and encourage them to join up.