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White Wings Vol I. Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 TO 1900

Captain Richard Todd — A Popular Shipmaster.

page 70

Captain Richard Todd.

A Popular Shipmaster.

Long Resident Of Napier.
The Captain Todd, whose coolness and resource during the collision enhanced his already fine reputation, was very well known in New Zealand, to which colony he had brought so many people from the Old Land, He always had a liking for this Britain of the South, and when his time came to retire from the sea he made his home here. Born at Dundee, Scotland, in 1845, he went to sea as a boy, and his first voyage was to China on a ship carrying troops His first visit to New Zealand was as chief officer of the Asterope, in the middle 70's, and when next he arrived in these waters he was chief officer of a small barque called the Malay, of which he took command when the master (Captain Peters) was promoted to a larger vessel.

His next command was the Saint Leonards, in which he made many voyages to New Zealand, bringing out a large number of immigrants. His last ship was the Northumberland, a well-known trader to the colony, which met an untimely end at Napier in 1887, being cast ashore during a furious storm that did much damage in the Bay. Oddly enough neither on the Saint Leonards nor the Northumberland was there any loss of life. Three men were drowned when the Northumberland was cast away, but they belonged to a little steamer called the Boojum that went to the assistance of the sailing ship.

After the loss of the Northumberland Captain Todd came ashore and settled down at Napier, and five months after the wreck of the Northumberland Captain Todd was appointed marine superintendent of the Colonial Union Shipping Company. In 1889 the name of the company was changed to the Tyser Line, Captain Todd remaining with the company as marine superintendent. In 1893 he was appointed colonial superintendent of the line, which in 1913 had its name changed to the Commonwealth and Dominion Line. When this last change was made Captain Todd, in addition to being colonial superintendent, became a director of the company. The head office had always been at Napier, but on the death of Captain Todd in 1916 it was transferred to Wellington.

Captain Todd was a man of sound common sense, and of a most marked personality. He was a well-read man, and had all the qualities that one associates with the true-hearted, frank sailor. He was a great favourite with the many passengers he carried, and during his long residence in Napier he made many firm friends. He was a good man of business, and his London principals often had to thank the day they appointed him their representative in Napier, where he attracted a large amount of business for their ships.

Captain Todd was 71 when he died His wife pre-deceased him by some two years. He had three sons and one daughter.