NEW ZEALAND's FAR NORTH
The Wreck of the "Osprey" ...
11 March 1846. Lost Herekino Harbour while trying to
cross the Bar.
1846 and the exploits of the warring
Hone Heke and Kawiti were causing a great deal of
alarm in the Hokianga. In an effort to offer some reassurance to the
early settlers of
the area, the British Naval Brig "HMS Osprey" under the command of
was dispatched to the Hokianga Harbour. She sailed from Whangaroa on
March 9 and
arrived off what they believed to be the Hokianga Heads on the evening of
The "Osprey" fired two cannon shots to attract the attention of the
Signal Station pilot
then stood off for the night, which at the time was rough and squally.
The next day was
still thick and gusty but as the wind had abated somewhat the "Osprey"
closed with the
shore once more. It was known that the entrance to Herekino Harbour was
similar to that of the Hokianga Harbour, even the charts of the time
carried a warning
with regard to Herekino, accordingly marked, "
". The fact
however, escaped Commander Patten's attention and at 3:30pm with sail
"Osprey" confidently attempted to take the
bar. Using the same angle necessary to
navigate the Hokianga they suddenly struck heavily and
it was immediately recognised
by the continuing violent impacts that the "Osprey" was
on the beach and that the
had been mistaken for the Hokianga entrance.
Desperate efforts were made to
lighten the vessel, her masts went by the board with
guns and heavy fittings thrown over the
side. The actions helped reduce the pounding and
she eventually came to rest in the
At 2.00am on March 12 there was a short calm and all the crew
managed to land
on the beach. With the realisation that the "Osprey" was a total loss she
stripped of all her stores and serviceable fittings and her remains left
to the elements.