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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885



Two voyages to New Zealand with passengers were made by the ship Bernicia, a vessel of 548 tons, in command of Captain Arnold. Captain Arnold brought out the Fifeshire, the first immigrant ship to Nelson, in 1842, which was wrecked on the Arrow Rock when leaving Nelson on her way to China, being at the time of the accident in charge of the pilot. The Bernicia, on her first voyage, arrived at New Plymouth on the 20th October, 1847, and after landing a few passengers and cargo, carried the remainder on to Nelson, arriving at that port on November 5th.

On the second voyage she sailed from Gravesend on July 7th, 1848, and arrived at New Plymouth on November 3rd. She was at Nelson on November 5th, and a fortnight later, November 20th, she anchored in Wellington harbour. On this occasion the ship brought out 153 passengers, some for New Plymouth, others for Nelson, and 78 for Wellington, among whom were Mr. and Mrs.page 143 T. B. Harding, whose family of seven were born in New Zealand. Two of the sons, Messrs. T. B. and W. A. Harding, are at the present time living at Napier, and it is to Mr. W. A. Harding that I am indebted for details of some of the ships arriving at that port. Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Harding, senior, celebrated their diamond wedding in 1908 at the residence of their daughter, Mrs. Martin, of Greenmeadows.

A passenger who arrived by this ship in 1848, stated that the Bernicia, shortly after leaving New Zealand in ballast for a foreign port, was lost on one of the South Sea Islands, and that, with one or two exceptions, all hands were killed and eaten by the natives. This story I have not been able to confirm, but it is probably true.