by Barrie Hudd

My association with the New Zealand Shipping Company began in 1968. I still have the original paperwork from the Marine Superintendent Engineer (P. Dobbie) offering me an appointment as a Junior Engineer. The pay on offer was £75 per month, or £83 with part “a” Board of Trade Certificate, with the proviso that gross earnings were more than 20% higher on average when certain extra payments were included.

On 14th March, 1968, I received a letter advising me to report to the Chief Engineer, of Ruahine before 3 pm at 33 Shed, Royal Albert, Dock E 16, on Sunday 17th March, 1968, for relieving duties. After spending an enjoyable month on this ship, I received a telegram to report to the Chief Engineer of Rakaia at West Gladstone Dock, Liverpool, before 3 pm on Tuesday the 16th April 1968. I was appointed 5th engineer for the ensuing voyage.

The 8,563grt Rakaia was built in 1945 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast as the Empire Abercorn, becoming Rakaia in 1946. On 22nd August 1971 she arrived at Hong Kong to be broken up by Lee Sing & Co. Photo: FotoFlite
The 8,563grt Rakaia was built in 1945 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast as the Empire Abercorn, becoming Rakaia in 1946. On 22nd August 1971 she arrived at Hong Kong to be broken up by Lee Sing & Co. Photo: FotoFlite

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