NEW ZEALAND SHIPPING
The history of the New Zealand Shipping Company leaves no doubt
as to the importance its Directors attached to training young men
to become ships’ officers.
As early as 1876, the Directors decided to receive on board each
of their ships from three to five apprentices under indenture to
By 1878, the Chairman was able to state that:
“we have now 45 apprentices on board our ships, of whom 23
are colonial youths. We have many applications now on our books.
In appointing these apprentices, the Directors have been careful
in the selection made. Our object has not been to get ne’er-do-wells,
scapegraces that nothing can be done with, who might be sent to sea
on the chances that some improvement might thereby be effected upon
them. Our object is to get good steady lads, who will work their
way up in our service, and become in time efficient officers and
commanders of our ships.”
Whilst all of the Company’s sailing and early steam ships carried
a few apprentices, it was not until just after the First World War,
in 1920, that the Company introduced a more formal apprentice training
scheme. Initially, under this scheme, 4 of the Company’s ships
were designated as training ships. They carried 20 or more apprentices,
or cadets as the Company called them, who were given a structured
programme of training and who, in effect, took over the role of the
From 1920, until its demise some 50 or so years later, the Company
designated a total of 12 different ships to act as cadet training
ships at one time or another.
This site will focus on the last 3 of these: the Durham, the Rakaia and the Otaio.