Preparing to Depart: Yellow-Eyed Penguin Survey Expedition

Saying Goodbye: The Maritime Museum team send Frazer on his way with an essential penguin survival kit. Hmmm, maybe he should rely on his own packing!

Museum Educator, Frazer Dale, is on his way to the Auckland Islands to count Yellow-Eyed Penguins as part of a Department of Conservation (DoC) survey of the endangered birds. In the final few days before his departure the Education team have been busy spreading the word to schools who can follow the expedition on this blog or via the Sir Peter Blake Trust website. They've also organised lots of school visits for Frazer’s return so he can share the stories from his trip.

Top 20 sailing superstitions

Because of the dangers faced by sailors and fishermen, there are countless superstitions around safety and luck on the sea. Some seem a little strange today.

From banning bananas to fearing flat footed people, here are our favourite picks from the old European sailing superstitions. While most no longer apply, we're guessing that some still linger in sailors’ minds....

Yellow-Eyed Penguin Survey Expedition

This is an example caption

Museum educator Frazer Dale is setting off on the expedition of a lifetime.

Meet the rarest penguins in the world

Yellow-eyed penguins are the rarest penguins in the world and unique to New Zealand. Their natural habitat is cool coastal forest, but by the late 1980s much of this had been cleared for pasture. Livestock trampled their nests, and to make matters worse, ferrets and stoats killed and ate their chicks. With the population falling fast, the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust was established to set up a conservation programme to stop the decline.

How to strengthen your sea legs: Take a trip of Spirit of New Zealand (Part 1)

The Museum’s Education team is always keen to build their sailing knowledge and skills so they can offer more training to visitors, including a Coastguard Education programme. Building up sailing time on a range of different vessels is key, so they were thrilled when Spirit of New Zealand offered a FREE training opportunity. The lucky staff member would get to climb on board the Trust’s tall ship, Spirit of New Zealand, for a four day sailing adventure from Wellington to Napier.

How to strengthen your sea legs: Take a trip of Spirit of New Zealand (Part 2)

Day two of Spirit of New Zealand’s coastal journey from Wellington to Napier saw the crew putting extra safety lines around the boat. This was to mitigate the risks of travelling up New Zealand’s most exposed coastline as a bad weather front came in. Spirit also moved 10 nautical miles off land to give the crew a safety buffer.

Excitement (and nerves) quickly rose as waves started crashing over the bow! And the waves weren't the only thing creating excitement among the crew as they also began to see Albatross, dolphins and seals.


NZ Defence Force assistance to OP Rena, 11 October 2011 (New Zealand Defence Force photograph)

Salvage teams have to try to prevent or limit the environmental damage they might cause, while dealing with uncertain and changing circumstances. A recent and dramatic example is the salvaging of Rena, a container ship which ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef off the Bay of Plenty on 5 October 2011.

HMS Orpheus

Wreck of  H.M.S. ORPHEUS  On Manukau Bar New Zealand Feb 1863.Richard Beechey 1868. On loan from the Edmiston Trust. On display at New Zealand Maritime Museum

The ORPHEUS disaster is often called ‘New Zealand’s worst sea disaster’. Although the WAHINE disaster would be New Zealand’s most famous shipwreck, the ORPHEUS was the greatest loss of life. Out of the 259 men assumed to be aboard, 189 lost their lives.

It happened on the 7 February 1863 on the Manukau Bar, on the west coast of Auckland.

The Merchant Navy

Medals awarded to George Henry Davis (1999.21.17), part of the NZ Maritime Museum reserve collection. During World War One Davis served as a soldier in the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps; the first two medals of this set represent his service during this conflict. George Davis also served in World War Two as a marine engineer in the Merchant Navy, for his service he was awarded The 1939 - 1945 Star, The Pacific Star, The War Medal 1939-45 and the New Zealand War Service Medal.  The last medal of this set is

On Wednesday 3 September we remembered the bravery and sacrifices of the civilian seamen known as the Merchant Navy. They were not a military force; they were the men who sailed the civilian ships requisitioned by the New Zealand and British Governments for war service.

100 years since New Zealand joined WW1

Union Steam Ship Company steamship MOERAKI, oil painting attributed to Frank Barnes (1859-1941). Fraser Collection,  NZ Maritime Museum (8673). The passenger steamship was built for the company in 1902, and was employed in the trans-Tasman service.

Friday 29 August marks one hundred years since what is considered New Zealand’s first military action in World War I.