Past Projects

Some of the past projects the Maritime Museum Foundation has been proud to support include:

The Auckland Harbour Board microfilm collection

During the mid-1900s, the Auckland Harbour Board converted many of its earliest records to microfilm, including correspondence dating back to the Harbour Board’s beginnings in 1871 and engineers’ plans from the early 1900s, when many of the city’s wharves were constructed and waterfront land was reclaimed. Over time, much of the film was damaged by vinegar syndrome as the acetate degraded, and much of the information was lost. Thanks in part to funding from the Maritime Museum Foundation, the remaining information has now been rescued. The contents of the microfilm have been transferred to new film and reels, with a projected life of 500 years. The Foundation also funded a microfilm reader for the Bill Laxon Maritime Library, making these important early records accessible to researchers for the first time.

The Maritime Museum Foundation would like to acknowledge Lion Foundation and Pub Charity who also contributed towards this project.

Digitisation of Collection items

Digitising the Maritime Museum’s entire collection is a major project the Museum is planning to undertake in the very near future. In the meantime, through financial support from the Foundation, the Museum has been able to make a start at the digitisation process. With a small proportion of the collection now online some of the content has been harvested by Digital NZ and made available on their portal site. This has driven traffic to the Museum’s site while increasing and enhancing collection access to a broader audience.

The Drowning Country documentary

The Foundation supported production of the documentary, The Drowning Country, one woman’s fate to save lives at sea. The Drowning Country, a 25-minute documentary that uncovers a New Zealand woman who designed the Salvus Kapok life jacket during WW1, and also examines Kiwi attitudes to life jackets amid some of the worst drowning rates in the world. In 1863, Orpheus Beaumont, a mariner’s daughter, was named after a shipwreck thought to have claimed her brother. What follows is a life story of determination and tenacity in her quest to save lives at sea. Told by Caroline Fitzgerald, her great grand-daughter, this documentary asks – was her struggle to revolutionise life jackets all in vain?

Rainbow II classic yacht

Rainbow II was designed by Olin J Stephens II of Sparkman and Stephens design office to meet the RORC rule. She was built of single skin splined kauri in 1966 by Max Carter for Chris Bouzaid who very successfully campaigned her on the One Ton Cup circuit which took New Zealand yachting to the global stage. Chris and his crew’s winning results included 121 races over two years. Among the victories were the Whangarei-Noumea and the Sydney-Hobart races in 1967, Kiel Week in Germany and the One Ton Cup in Heligoland in 1969. A month later, she won her divisions in both the Channel Race and the Fastnet Classic.

Rainbow II was sold in 1969 and lived in Bermuda for the following 45 years. Chris Bouzaid then bought her back, subsequently returning her to New Zealand. The Foundation contributed funding towards the restoration of Rainbow II, now owned by the Classic Yacht Charitable Trust.

A journal of a voyage to the South Seas, in his Majesty’s ship, the ‘Endeavour’

Faithfully transcribed from the papers of the late Sydney Parkinson, draughtsman to Joseph Banks, Esq. on his late expedition, with Dr Solander, round the world. Embellished with views and designs, delineated by the author and engraved by capital artists. [To which is now added]: Explanatory remarks on the preface to Sydney Parkinson’s journal of a voyage to the South Seas by John Fothergill. (2008.237)

Joseph Banks hired Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771) as a draughtsman on Cook’s first Pacific voyage, 1768-1771. His illustrations of New Zealand included portraits of Māori men and women, as well as landscapes.

Parkinson died of illness on the return voyage, leaving 280 paintings and over 900 sketches and drawings. A contest over the rights to publish his journal and artworks followed, with Joseph Banks and Parkinson’s family each laying a claim.

The Foundation helped to purchase a copy of Parkinson’s journal, A journal of a voyage to the South Seas (1784) for the Bill Laxon Maritime Library. Originally published against Banks’ wishes by Parkinson’s brother, this edition features both an attack on Banks’ conduct and an exoneration of Banks by a family friend of the draughtsman.

Guardians of the Light documentary

With the support of the Chisholm Whitney Family Charitable Trust, the Foundation assisted in the production and launch of Guardians of the Light, a documentary featuring the men and women who lived on the isolated islands and craggy cliffs of New Zealand’s manned light stations telling of a lifestyle that ended last century.

The Foundation has funded the acquisition of a number of historical maritime books for the Bill Laxon Maritime Library including:

A report of the passage of the Andrew Jackson from London to Auckland in the year 1865

Preserving and providing access to early first-hand accounts of shipboard life is one of the Bill Laxon Maritime Library’s most important roles. Rare book auctions provide the opportunity to collect stories of the sea told by sailors, whalers, immigrants and explorers, amongst others. A report of the passage of the Andrew Jackson from London to Auckland, in the year 1865 is the diary of an immigration voyage aboard the clipper ship ANDREW JACKSON, written by passenger M. Dudley Taylor.

The wild west coast of New Zealand: a summer cruise in the ‘Rosa’

By Robert Paulin (with a frontispiece from a photograph by the author)

The wild west coast of New Zealand by Robert Paulin is an account of an 1886 voyage in the cutter ROSA. As the author attempts to prospect for gold around Stewart Island and the West Coast of the South Island, he also provides wonderful descriptions of marine and bird life, coastal forests and geology. The glimpses of settler life in the remote reaches of the South Island are especially vivid.

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