Auckland Tally Clerk’s Union

An intricately hand-carved and gold-embellished roll of honour pays homage to the men of the Auckland Tally Clerks’ Union who fought in the World Wars.
Of the 28 union men who served, four made the ultimate sacrifice. After the wars, they continued to fight – but this time, for their rights on the Auckland waterfront.

Rob Waddell - A Hero with a Giant Heart

Rob Waddell wins gold at Sydney 2000
Rob Waddell’s accomplishments in world sport are best described as Herculean - reaching the pinnacle of not one, but two very demanding sporting codes.
A world and Olympic rowing champion, Waddell has also been one of the tough men of Kiwi yachting – grinding for Team New Zealand in two Louis Vuitton Cup victories and three America’s Cup matches.  And he did it all with a troublesome heart.

Barbara Kendall – Rainbow Girl

Barbara in the lead in a mistral board race.  Barbara Kendall Collection,  Voyager NZ Maritime Museum [2003.215]

In a dazzling 24-year boardsailing career, Barbara Kendall became known as The Rainbow Girl – winning a medal of every hue at the pinnacle of sport, the Olympic Games. 

Greg Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell - HAWAIKI NUI

Plan of HAWAIKI-NUI / Designer Jacques Pariselle, conception Frances Cowan,  realisation Frances Cowan and Matahi Brightwell. Proceedings Waka Moana Symposium, Voyager NZ Maritime Museum [1996.132]

When Greg Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell realised a dream when his double-hulled waka HAWAIKI NUI arrived off the coast of Gisborne in 1985.The master carver had spent five years hand-crafting the traditional canoe and preparing it for an epic journey across the South Pacific – to prove that the long sea voyages portrayed in Polynesian folklore were really possible.


Russell Coutts leading the fleet at the  1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games /  photographer Bob Fisher.

When Russell Coutts drove a sleek black yacht across the finish-line off San Diego on Sunday, May 14th, 1995, a nation on the other side of the Pacific Ocean went into raptures.
With a little “Black Magic” and a whole lot of team spirit, New Zealand had won the America’s Cup – the holy grail of sailing – for the first time in the 144-year history of the world’s oldest sporting trophy.  

Mary Jane Bennett - Keeper of the Light

Mary Jane Bennett was not only dedicated to taking care of her husband and seven children. She was also committed to looking after the wellbeing of seamen rounding Pencarrow Head at the entrance to Wellington Harbour. Despite the most challenging conditions, Mary Jane was the first – and only – woman to become a lighthouse keeper in New Zealand.

Peter Burling & Blair Tuke: champions and future heroes

Tuke and Burling with silver medals  at the 2012 London Olympics

If you peered into a crystal ball at the future of New Zealand yachting, the chances are very high you would see Peter Burling and Blair Tuke sailing front and centre.

The Merchant Navy - Heroes of two World Wars

NZHTS MARAMA  WWI Markwick Collection, VNZMM

Thousands of valiant New Zealanders served in the Merchant Navy in both World Wars These seafaring civilians volunteered to serve on commercial ships that were requested or offered for war service by the governments of the Allies, helping to deliver troops, military supplies and crucial cargoes across the oceans.

Ships Cats - Unlikely Heroes

Wockle on the capstan

Mrs Chippy, Trim, Jenny and Aussie - all cats and seafaring heroes.  For centuries, felines were welcomed on board merchant and Navy ships, as pets, protectors, pest controllers and highly intuitive creatures. And the four-pawed voyagers took their roles very seriously.

Captain James Cook – Adventurer, Explorer and Seafarer.

James Cook, portrait by Nathaniel Dance-Holland,  c. 1775, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

He might have been looking for an unknown southern continent, but what James Cook really discovered when he sighted land near modern day Gisborne was equally important.