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The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, Saturday, July 26, 1851

It is with very deep concern that we record the total wreck of the barque Maria near Cape Terawiti, accompanied with a greater amount of loss of human life than has previously happened in any similar calamity on the New Zealand coast since the colony has been established. The information on the subject at present is necessarily imperfect, but the following particulars, we believe, may be relied on: — According to the account of the only surviving European, the Maria left Lyttelton on Sunday last, the 20th instant, in company with the Raven for Wellington, having on board 30 or 31 persons, two of whom were cabin passengers, the others were the officers and crew of the vessel, and stockmen. About 4 o’clock, a.m., on Wednesday they found themselves running on towards shore, the weather being very thick, and the wind blowing hard on a lee shore. The vessel struck about a quarter of a mile from the shore, on the rocks off the mouth of Makara valley. When the vessel struck, several of the crew cut away the quarter boat, and jumped into it; but it was immediately swamped, and they were all drowned. The vessel broke up very shortly after she struck, those on board trying to save themselves by rafts and pieces of timber; but only two succeeded in reaching the shore alive, a European sailor and a Malay, who have been received into Mr. M Namara’s House, and kindly taken care of. The man who was saved was on a raft with several others, when near the breakers he jumped from the raft and advised his companions to follow his example, they refused to do so and were all drowned. The bodies of nine persons have been recovered, including those of Captain Plank and a stockman named Sole. The names of the two cabin passengers are not known, and we must wait for certain information on this head from the next arrivals from Lyttleton. The vessel was in ballast, having only a few casks of sperm oil on board. We believe it is intended to bring the bodies into Wellington and have them decently interred. Mr. St. Hill, the Resident Magistrate, went out yesterday to Terawiti, and several police have been sent to protect such property as may be washed on shore. When the sailor who has escaped from the wreck is in some degree recovered, further particulars will be obtained of the cause of this sad catastrophe, which has occasioned very deep concern and sympathy for the melancholy fate of the sufferers, particularly for her unfortunate commander.