Underwater Heritage Group New Zealand
New Zealand Shipwrecks (Supplement 2)
This, the second edition of the Companion to New Zealand Shipwrecks builds on the original 1936 book, New Zealand Shipwrecks by Ingram & Wheatley and seven further editions, the 8th edition being published in 2007.
Shipwrecks of New Zealand is lavishly illustrated with colour, plus many previously unpublished images of wrecks. It also lists the whereabouts of bells from our shipwrecks including many images, the first such list.
The first edition of the Companion, Shipwrecks of New Zealand, published in 2009 corrected errors in the 8th edition and added more unrecorded wrecks. This second edition adds another 30 pages and again adds previously unrecorded wrecks as letters and diaries surfaced with more details and more information discovered in our National Archives. However mysteries still remain such as the story of an ancient wreck in Aotea Harbour and identification of the wreckage recently excavated at Carters Beach in Westport.
While this book is essentially maritime history it also gives many insights into our early social history, such as the entry for the Volunteer wrecked at the Fox River, where ‘A sailor, dead for seven summer days was placed on the bar room floor of Kelly’s hotel awaiting the coroner. The patrons kept drinking, one even astride the body …’
Joseph Banks’s Brass Patu in New Zealand
Joseph Banks had 40 brass patu made in Eleanor Gyles’s brass foundry at 9 Shoe Lane, Fleet Street, London, in March 1772 in anticipation of taking them and other gift and trade items on Captain Cook’s second voyage of exploration to the Pacific. They were 14.43 inches (36.5 cm) long and were engraved by Thomas Orpin with Banks’s name, general family crest and the date 1772. When Banks did not go he “ordered everything belonging to [him] to be removed from the ship.” [Beaglehole, 1961: 937.] Charles Clerke, his protegé and friend, had been master’s mate in the Endeavour and was second lieutenant in the Resolution. He thanked Banks for his assistance on 31 May 1772, and added “Wish you’d send a Venture by me, of one of your small Cags [casks] of large nails, for by what I hear, they are much better than any of my freights.” Banks had ordered eight casks as nails were highly prized in the Pacific. They were flat spikes, usually four or five inches long, which Maori would grind to a fine edge to make chisels or to a point for drilling holes or use as spear points. While nails provided by the government would carry its broad arrow symbol, those taken privately by officers would not. Banks met the request and Clerke wrote from Sheerness on 17 June: “am very much oblig’d for the Cagg of Nails - think I am now set out completely freighted for the South Sea Marts, hope to make a good trading voyage of it ... and show away in a curious Cabinet of Miti curiosities at my return.” [Chambers, 2008: 121, 128.] He is the only officer, apart from Cook, whose correspondence with Banks has been published. There is nothing in his log of the voyage, or letters after it, to show that he (or anyone else) had any of the brass patu on this voyage.
This brass weight was found while diving at Niue Island. Would the person who sent the photo to us be able to tell us if it was on one of the known shipwrecks at the island or someething discarded as rubbish many years ago.