Gratton J. (Colin) Grey, Merchant Navy seafarer
Gratton J. (Colin) Grey was taken prisoner of war in 1942 when the New Zealand Merchant Navy vessel MV HAURAKI (1922) was captured by Japanese forces during World War II. He was held in Changi Jail in Singapore until his repatriation, returning home to New Zealand in 1945.
The archives show an extended network of family members, governmental departments and, in some cases, complete strangers working to keep communications alive between imprisoned seafarers, such as Colin, and their families.
For his loyal service he was decorated with nine World War II medals and returned to sea with the Mercantile Marine in 1946, serving on board the sailing ship PAMIR (1905).
The Gratton (Colin) J. Grey collection includes archives, a photograph album, pins, badges and service medals.
Clifford (Cliff) William Hawkins, New Zealand Order of Merit, maritime historian, photographer (1914– 2007)
Entranced by ships; as a young man working for the Post Office in Auckland in the 1930s, he delivered mail to the wharves. In the process, Cliff befriended Harbour Board workers, tug skippers and pilots, and they allowed him to join them in meeting in-coming ships, and to capture them in on his camera.
During World War II, while serving overseas, Hawkins continued to take photographs of ships and convoys at sea.
On his return, living in Auckland with his family, wife Shelia and four children, Hawkins began writing on New Zealand’s maritime history, particularly scows and dhows. His published books were accompanied by his own photographs and illustrations. He processed his own images and built model ships.
His fascination for ships took him to East Africa, Suez, Indonesia, North America and Europe, to draw and photograph local vessels.
He co-founded the Auckland Maritime Society and was a member of the Auckland Photographic Society. He was created a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2003.
The Cliff Hawkins collection, donated by Cliff himself and son Robert (Bob) Hawkins, comprises photographs, glass plate negatives, correspondence, notebooks, bound manuscripts and ships models.
Phillippa (Pip) Were (1948-) Senior Radio Officer, Surveyor
Pip grew up in Nelson, with seafarers in her family. Her determination to work at sea developed from a young age, and coupled with her aptitude for operating machinery, her career seemed clear. She trained as a Radiotelegraph Operator in the 1970s, and became the first woman Post Office Radio Inspector at the age of twenty-three.
In 1974 she became a ship’s Radio Officer in the Merchant Service Guild and commenced a career at sea, spanning seventeen years in the 1970s and 1980s, serving on a variety of coastal vessels in New Zealand as well as overseas. She faced significant challenges as a woman in the industry at that time. Her skills culminated in becoming a Senior Radio Officer and a radio surveyor and examiner of radio operators. Pip was married to William (Bill) Were who supported her throughout her career.
The Phillippa (Pip) Were collection contains archive material relating to her training and role as a radio officer; including logbooks, licences, diaries, oral history recording, correspondence, flags, uniforms, radio equipment and photographs.
Gerry Clark was a New Zealand sailor, writer and ornithologist. He is known for his seabird research around the subantarctic islands and his circumnavigation of Antarctica in his self-built yacht Totorore. This collection spans the period 1982 to 1999 and comprises written correspondence, manuscripts, audio and visual recordings, bird observation records, logbooks, photographs, slides and objects. Most of this material relates to his expeditions in the Southern Ocean and around Aotearoa New Zealand.
Gerry, with his wife Marjorie and four daughters, developed an organic orchard in Kerikeri following his retirement from the Merchant Navy. After building the yacht TOTORORE in 1982, with a particular interest in seabird numbers as an indicator of ocean health, Gerry was inspired to organise expeditions in the Southern Ocean.
On one such TOTORORE voyage to the Antipodes Islands, Gerry, along with crew member Roger Sale, went missing at sea in a storm. To date only small fragments of the yacht have been found.
This collection represents the skilled seamanship, dedication and achievements of Gerald Stanley (Gerry) Clark MBE (1927-1999).
SS Maori went down off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1909 while on its way to Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand with a cargo hold of domestic items for sale. This selection, salvaged in the 1970s, is an intriguing representation of shipping and domestic life in the early twentieth century. You may notice that the name of the ship is missing a pōtae/macron – it is standard practice to present ship names as they were officially registered, misspellings included.
If you have any information to share or questions to pose, please leave us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.
Outboard motors are the workhorses of inshore boating. Designed to work in the demanding marine environment, they represent one of the first uses of the internal combustion engine and have shared advancements over the last 100 years with automotive engines. The NZMM has a collection of over seventy outboards and has digitized the selection of mainly North American and European motors on display. They include a Waterman 1 h.p. dating from 1909 and several examples of the ubiquitous Seagull. Some of the motors were rebuilt for display at the museum in the 1990s while others are entirely original. There are also several small inboard motors on display including a Rudge 500 c.c. from 1912.
Sea Spray Magazine
Find here a set of digitised slides and photographic prints from the Sea Spray magazine. We hold an almost complete run of the magazine from 1945 to 2003 and thousands of associated slides and photographs covering the 1960s and through the 1990s. Some of the digitised records are information-rich but, due to resourcing priorities, many records have had a lighter touch. We will continue to digitise our Sea Spray collections over time. If you’re keen to know more, or if you have information to share about a particular event or craft, please leave a comment