The New Zealand Shipping Company

New Zealand Shipping CompanyThere were so many great shipping companies during the golden years of our maritime history and the New Zealand Shipping Company was one of them. Of course, I would say that wouldn’t I, as I had the wonderful experience of sailing with them.

I’ll never forget the day I first set foot inside the once mighty London Docks, which was then, the biggest and busiest port in the world with over sixty-thousand ship movements a year.

It was a typical London docklands day, with a struggling sun trying desperately to find a way through the cold, grey fog that held the eleven miles of docks in its control.

I was just sixteen and my whole body was totally weak with a cocktail of emotions ranging from unbelievable excitement to a nervousness that had there been one to hand, would have had me running to the nearest toilet!

New Zealand Shipping CompanyThrough the misty morn came the dockland sounds of heavy booted feet upon cobbled roads, heralding the arrival of the thousands of people who worked all those docks. The sound of an endless stream of lorries rumbled in and out of the dock gates, almost oblivious of the fog, their clumsy sound mixing in with puffing trains, swinging cranes and the ships themselves; stretching for as far as the eye could see.

Amongst those ships were the very handsome vessels of the New Zealand Shipping Company, berthed at the top end of Royal Albert Dock, where they discharged and loaded their cargoes.

The sight of the large yellow funnel, all lit up in the greyness of the morning, was for me, a heart stopping moment and one I will never forget.

I served on the companies cargo ships and passenger cargo ships, which operated on one of the best services the merchant navy had to offer; a four or six month voyage to New Zealand and Australia via Suez or Panama.

In today’s world were people can holiday almost anywhere, its impossible to imagine the sheer excitement a young sixteen year old boy could have felt, knowing the ship he was joining was about to take him on the journey of a lifetime all around the world.

New Zealand Shipping CompanyThen there were the amazing places we called at like Tahiti… who could ever imagine a sixteen year old boy back in the 1950s, spread out beneath the coconut palms on a beautiful beach in exotic Tahiti… not to mention the girls!

Oh well, I get a little carried away and the sad thing is, without these DVDs, all those many, wonderful memories would all be fading with the slowly falling curtain of old age. But thanks to those DVDs, we can just put them on and sail again aboard those magnificent New Zealand Shipping Company cargo ships and cargo liners, transiting the canals, calling in at ports that people back home could only but dream about, and perhaps the nicest ting of all… just slowly making our way across the great Pacific Ocean, sailing through the warmth of rich blue seas and at night, sailing beneath skies of a million brightly shining stars, covering my mind as I lay on a top on one of a hatch cover, listening to the soothing sounds of the passing sea.

There are seven DVDs available with New Zealand Shipping Company ships in: Episodes 3, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 & 23. Actually, if you include number 11 (The Great Port of London) then there are eight, each one taking us aboard ships of that once great fleet, and sailing with them on voyages all over the world including the MANS run.

If you ever had anything to do with the New Zealand Shipping Company or Federal Steam Navigation Company, then you really, really, really, have to have these DVDs, for they are something extremely special and something I am proud to have been able to create.

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