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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Expanding Trade, 1882–1911

In 1882 the Shaw, Savill Co. and the Albion Lines amalgamated to form the Shaw Savill and Albion Co. Ltd. At that time the Shaw Savill fleet numbered 26 sailing ships, of which 19 passed to the new company, the Albion Line contributing 12 ships to the combined fleet. Nine owned by Savill and Captain J. Leslie continued to operate as part of the main fleet. At the same time the Shaw Savill and Albion Co. and the New Zealand Shipping Co. decided to establish direct steamship services between New Zealand and Great Britain. Pending the building of specially designed tonnage, they chartered recently built vessels all fitted with refrigerating machinery. The first steamers built for the Shaw Savill and Albion Co. were the sister ships Arawa and Tainui, each of slightly more than 5,000 tons. The White Star Line provided the Ionic, Doric, and Coptic, this arrangement marking the beginning of its long association with the New Zealand trade, which ended when its interests were acquired by the Shaw Savill and Albion Co. in 1935. The New Zealand Shipping Co.'s first steamers were the Tongariro, Aorangi, and Ruapehu, each of 4,250 tons, succeeded by the Kaikoura and Rimutaka, of 4,474 tons. The steamers followed the traditional sailing ship routes – out by way of the Cape of Good Hope and home round the Horn, with calls at coaling ports along the way. Despite the world depression, New Zealand's refrigerated cargo trade expanded rapidly and the fleets of Shaw Savill and the New Zealand Shipping Co. grew accordingly. The latter company disposed of its sailing ships during the 1890s and the last of those of Shaw Savill were sold soon after the turn of the century. The Shaw Savill -White Star liner Gothic, of 7,755 tons, built in 1893, was surpassed in 1902–03 by the famous sisters Athenic, Corinthic, and Ionic of 12,230 tons. In 1909–11 the New Zealand Shipping Co. built the Ruahine, Rotorua, and Remuera, of 11,000 tons. In addition to their passenger ships, both companies built many vessels specially designed for the carriage of refrigerated and general cargo.