Story: Shipwrecks

The wreck of HMS Orpheus

The wreck of HMS Orpheus

Depicting the wreck of HMS Orpheus on 7 February 1863, this painting by Richard Brydges Beechey is dated September of that year. The ship was carrying stores from Sydney for naval ships based in New Zealand during the New Zealand wars. She was wrecked crossing the bar of Manukau Harbour. Of the 259 officers and men on board, 189 died. This was the greatest loss of life from a shipwreck in New Zealand waters. Those who were saved had climbed into the rigging and jumped into the water. They were picked up by boats that had been towed out by the small steamer Wonga Wonga (right).

Using this item

New Zealand National Maritime Museum, P. A. Edmiston Trust Collection
Oil painting by R. B. Beechey

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How to cite this page:

Gerard Hutching, 'Shipwrecks - Māori shipwreck stories', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 June 2020)

Story by Gerard Hutching, published 12 Jun 2006