Cruises of the ship Monowai to Great Barrier Island 1934-7


1934 January Between December and March of each of the following pre-war years, the liner was diverted on a series of cruises originating from Wellington or Auckland and Sydney or Melbourne. The first were along the Northland coast and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, while the latter were longer; to the fiords of the South Island.

 The majority of the passengers on these cruises were New Zealanders, but there was always a good leavening of Australians and a sprinkling of travellers from further afield to give a cosmopolitan feel to the voyage. Among the passengers on one cruise to the Sounds was the celebrated New Zealand radio personality Aunt Daisy. She referred to the captain in her broadcast as 'that dreadful man, Captain Davey' but was sufficiently perceptive to go on to say that 'he could handle his ship like an Austin 7'.

On a typical cruise from Auckland, the Monowai embarked her passengers in the evening, anchored in the stream for a get-together dance and social and then sailed in the early hours of the morning for a before breakfast arrival at the imposing entrance to Whangaroa Harbour. The rest of the day was spent at anchor giving time for excursions ashore, including the climb to the summit of St. Paul's Rock with the Monowai looking like a toy on the waters of the harbour far below. On the first visit, the public relations part of the exercise was emphasised by the captain entertaining children from the local school to afternoon tea on board, the first time most of them had ever seen an ocean liner.



Back to sea for the short evening trip down the coast to the Bay of Islands brought another night at anchor off Russell with the choice of shore or shipboard entertainment the following day. Then it was overnight to Great Barrier Island for a day at Port Fitzroy on the sheltered western side with a farewell dance in the evening while the ship was still at anchor. The return to Auckland took place overnight and the ship was alongside her berth early next morning.



Although conditions during the cruise had generally been favourable, the last day out from Auckland was fairly uncomfortable so her master took the ship into Port Fitzroy on Great Barrier Island where the farewell fancy dress ball could be held while at anchor with everyone able to enjoy it. The ball continued into the small hours before the three-hour run for a morning arrival back at Auckland. Many complimentary letters were received by the Union Company, prompting a letter of appreciation to the master and crew from the General Manager.


1937 January 19 Departed from Auckland for a cruise to Whangaroa, the Bay of Islands and Port Fitzroy.