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The Autobiography of a Maori

Captain Skinner's Fleet

Captain Skinner's Fleet

I always admired Captain Skinner's schooners. With their white hulls and leaning masts they looked like yachts. They were named Waiapu, Gisborne, Awanui, Aotea and Kaeo. I remember once seeing the whole fleet moored to the Gisborne wharf and in their proper order. It was the advent of the steamships that pushed Captain Skinner's fleet out of business. The Kaeo, the finest ship in the fleet, was wrecked in the islands, and the Aotea, with the loss of the crew, including Captain Nicolas, Mrs. Nicolas and their child, was wrecked at Waipiro Bay, East Coast. Old Captain Skinner kept a store at Little Awanui, Bay of Plenty, where his vessels often sought shelter during storms, and where he spent his last years.