Out of the Box: Shaw Savill and Albion - one company, hundreds of voyages and thousands of emigrants to New Zealand

Friday, May 27, 2016
House flag, Shaw Savill & Albion Line. New Zealand Maritime Museum

Shaw Savill and Albion - one company, hundreds of voyages and thousands of emigrants to New Zealand 

April – June 2016

Patrick Henderson’s Albion Line of Glasgow was the first UK shipping line to establish an emigration service to New Zealand. The Albion Line had a reputation for consideration of the welfare and comfort of the emigrants, while on board their ships.

Shaw Savill Line began when the two men Shaw and Savill formed a partnership together. Established in 1858, they chartered ships and initially only carried cargo to New Zealand. Always looking for new opportunities by 1859 the cargo ships also carried emigrants. Shaw Savill purchased ships and chartered vessels as more people signed up for New Zealand settlement schemes. By 1866 68 sailings were dispatched to New Zealand.

Image: Pewter tankard mv dominion monarch depicting a map of the world. New Zealand Maritime Museum 2000.85.1

This brought the two shipping lines into rivalry for the emigrant service, until they merged together 1882, for economic reasons in and became Shaw Savill & Albion.

Immigrants came to New Zealand to find a new life, hope and an escape from their old life. When they arrived in New Zealand they found a land that was forested and mountainous with ocean surf beaches.  From a sometimes tumultuous 3 month journey, they arrived to no waiting infrastructure or houses. Many with no tools or experience had to build homes and new lives from scratch.

These “New Zealanders” could not afford to go back to the UK, so they got stuck in and made New Zealand their home, building houses, schools, ports, roads, railways and communities.

New Zealand became a producer of high quality agricultural products; meat, wool and butter, providing cargo for the ships returning to the UK.


Marleene Boyd