NEW ZEALAND's FAR NORTH
PHOTOGRAPHY by donhammondimage
The Northern Steamship Company
The Northern Steamship Company was born of a vision in 1881, to
bring together a loose group of small steamers under the umbrella of
one dedicated company. It was envisaged that the Company would serve
the small ports and isolated settlements that dotted the northern
coastline. For the small budding townships the steamers were a lifeline
as they represented the main means of travel, for passenger and cargo.
With the arrival of a steamer in port and all the hustle and bustle
of activity it created, it was as though a carnival had come to town.
Hard won goods and produce would be loaded for shipping to Auckland.
There would be goods, and more importantly, the mails arriving - a
precious link to the outside world which appeared to be so far away.
Late 1880's the little coastal steamers "Fingal" and the "Staffa" were
the mainstay of the fleet serving the small river port. With the news
that the Company was building a new vessel for the run there was great
excitement. The "Apanui" was going to be a monster of 240 tons ! The
steamer went into service in 1906 and became a familiar sight along the
river and the port of Awanui for over 25 years. She was finally
withdrawn from service in May 1931.