Ship Creek on West Coast of New Zealand
Ship Creek is also known by its Maori name Tauperikaka. The creek gets its dark inky colour from the tannin and humus acid of swamp forests along it’s 11 km course.
The name `Ship Creek’ has its origins in 1871 when a large fragment of a ship (of unusual wood construction never seen before in New Zealand) was discovered at the mouth of Tauperikaka Creek. Those days South Westland represented one of the world’s truly isolated places – and still does. Fragments of a ship were again found four years later. When pieced together, the wreckage suggested the bows of a stylish sailing ship.
Additional hull pieces were seen in 1920. Then, in 1973, the remaining wreckage of the ship was found by divers – off the south-western coast of Victoria, Australia.
The ship was identified (and confirmed by shipbuilders in Aberdeen Scotland) as Schomberg of the Black Ball line, wrecked on December 26, 1855 near the end of its maiden voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne. It was an unspectacular wreck, on the southern tip of Australia, from which over 300 passengers stepped safely ashore.
More remarkable was that fragments of the ship were able to drift 2000 kilometres and wash up on a desolate New Zealand beach.