New Zealand Maritime Museum


Northern Steam Ship Company

 

The Twilight Years - Sailing into the Sunset

Men working on a bulk wheat cargo in 1964. Photograph:  Northern Steam Ship Company Photograph Album
Men working on a bulk wheat cargo in 1964.
Photograph: Northern Steam Ship Company Photograph Album
In the 1960s a service was begun with the MARANUI carrying bulk grain. During the early 1970s there was demand for South Island wheat in Auckland and this proved to be another profitable time for Northern Steam Ship Company. The Company purchased BAY FISHER (to be renamed MOANUI) and DIDO to carry the grain from the South Island. This was only short-lived however, a drop in the production of wheat in the South Island due to a drought in 1973, meant the Company had to find alternative cargoes for their three ships, MOANUI, DIDO and TAINUI II.

DIDO was sent to Australia to carry grain for stock food, discharging her last cargo at Auckland between 22nd and 25th July 1974, and after that was laid up. The other two vessels were to suffer the same fate. Before being laid up at the Viaduct, MOANUI carried her last cargo of barley from the South Island to Auckland in September 1974. TAINUI II brought coal from Westport in November 1974; this was the last cargo carried by a Northern Company vessel.

After ninety-four years of service the Northern Steam Ship Company sold the last three vessels in their fleet and ceased to operate as a ship-owner. For a few years afterwards the Company continued as a fork-hoist operator and as a shipping agency, acting as agent for the Japan Line.


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