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Matai (1930 - 1963)

 

Ship Matai in Beechy Harbour, Preservation Inlet. Edwards, Gerald Harry, 1910- :Negatives. Ref: 1/4-018397-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22880531

 

The Matai. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 114/175/08-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22388800

Reel of Cook Strait cable before it is loaded on to the ship Matai. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1958/1509-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22732050

 

 

The 5th New Zealand Lighthouse Tender was named the Matai after the New Zealand native tree the Matai.

Built by R & W Hawthorn-Leslie and Co in Hebburn-on-Tyne.,  19  and completed in July of 1930,  257  she was launched on November 6, 1930.  257

Her original specifications were:

Weight: 1049 tons gross and 383 tons net register. 19

Dimensions: 1050grt, 383nrt, 219.0 x 35.1 x 13.6ft.  257

Engines: 2 x T3cyl (12.5, 21 & 35 x 26ins) 178nhp.  257

Engines by: Hawthorn Leslie & Co Ltd.  257

Propulsion: 2 x Screws, 11.0knots.  257

Speed: 13/10 knots.  258

Complement : 81.  258

Construction: Steel.  257

Reg Number: 151520.  257

 

In addition to her lighthouse duties, during the 1930's,  15  she was used for cable laying in Cook and Foveaux Straits.  19  The cable machinery fitted was the machinery removed from the Tutanekai254    The cable machinery was supplied by Johnson and Phillips and was designed and built so it could be lifted out in one piece. It consisted of two 3 ft 2 in. diameter bow sheaves and the picking up-paying out machine was a double system driven by a twin cylinder steam engine capable of a lift of 20 tons at 1 knot.  254

In January 1941  258   / March 3, 1941  15    she was requisitioned by the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) as an auxiliary minesweeper, and  commissioned  on April 1, 1941  258   as HMNZS Matai Pennant No.: T01.  258

Armament: 1 x 4 inch gun, 2x20mm Oerlikons, 2 Machine Guns, 40 depth charges258

She took over as flotilla leader of the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla and begun sweeping for mines in the Hauraki Gulf  area.  258

In March 1942 after a refit the Matai sailed with the flotilla to Suva, Fiji, where she surveyed the Nandi area and laid protective minefields. Over the next 5 months she patrolled the waters around Suva and provided antisubmarine escorts for troop transports and supply ships. She later sailed to Noumea arriving October 25, 1942 and continued with patrol duties.  258

On December 12, 1942 the Matai sailed from the New Hebrides to the Solomon Islands and was to remain in the area for two and half years. In January 1943 Matai was attacked by a US bomber, fortunately without damage or injury.  258

In 1944 Matai was reclassified as a transport. She decommissioned at Wellington on 25 April 1945 and was returned to her owners in 1946.  258

Later the Matai served as a passenger ship between Wellington and Nelson.  19 

In October 1959 the Matai become the South Island - Stewart Island ferry.  254

She was sold in 1963 to the Hong Kong Shipping Company and renamed the Zetai Star257    On March 3, 1965 she was broken up.  257

 

Sources

Additional Sources:

126. THE NEW ZEALAND RAILWAYS MAGAZINE, VOLUME 13, ISSUE 11 (JANUARY 1, 1939). Authors: Chas. E. Wheeler & T. Martin. NEW ZEALAND'S LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE THE GOVERNMENT STEAMER MATAI AT WORK  http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Gov13_11Rail-t1-body-d7.html

254http://www.atlantic-cable.com/CableCos/NewZealand/

257http://www.tynebuiltships.co.uk/M-Ships/matai1930.html

258. http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/index.php

259. THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND NAVY. Author: Waters, S. D. CHAPTER 12 MINESWEEPING IN NEW ZEALAND WATERS http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Navy-c12.html

 

 

 

 

 

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Text and photographs. Copyright 1999-2013 Mark Phillips. All rights reserved.

If anyone has any information please contact me. thekiwimark@msn.com

Last Updated: August 23, 2013.